Safe in the hands of our transport cop

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From cable thefts to baggage thefts, from suicides to 
trespass, these are some of the issues British Transport police officers have to deal with every day.

Luckily, in the 2000 square mile patch covered by officers at Lancaster, crime has actually reduced.

PC Gavin Daw, who has worked at Lancaster since January, but spent eight years as a bobbie in the south of the county, said: “We have already reduced crime by 10%.

“It’s busy but that’s the nature of policing.

“A lot of people don’t know about British Transport Police and don’t understand what we do.

“We work with the train operators and with local police forces and county police forces.

“We try and work to reduce crime and disruption on the railway network and increase passenger safety.

“By 2019, we aim to reduce disruption by 20%, reduce crime by 20% and increase passenger confidence by 10%.

“People should be allowed to travel by train safely and securely.

“It is a big task but we are on track to meet it.”

In a new initiative launched recently, people can now text 61016 whilst on a train to report a non-emergency incident. This allows a quick response from officers, who can meet the person at the next station if required.

PC Daw travels all over the railway network.

He said: “Anti-social behaviour involving kids is a big issue but we have the invaluable network of signallers who provide us with a lot of information.

“We also rely on the eyes and ears of the public.

“We look to identify crime patterns. Theft of passenger property has been more of a problem over the past two years.

“It’s about being vigilant.

“We have uniformed and plain clothed officers patrolling up and down the train network.”

Although cycle thefts do occur, a special operation is being run called Operation Farthing which involves police and station staff doing a quick check of the bike rack area.

PC Gavin Daw said: “If we find bikes unlocked they will be removed by us and put into a secure storeroom.

“We log a description and the owner has to give a good description of their bike to get it back.

“They will be given a leaflet on bike security when they collect their bike.

“On the last train on a Friday and Saturday there are people unfit to travel through drink.

“We would ask that people are being sensible about being fit to travel.

“It is a safe way to travel and people can have the confidence in the trains.

“The Samaritans, in partnership with us, have been trying to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities on the railway network.

“Signs have been put up at bridges and the end of platforms and people can call the Samaritans for help.”

Nationally there is a severe threat level due to terrorism so BTP are running Operation Avert to identify at risk places.

Gavin said: “Trespass on the railway is one of our biggest problems. It isn’t detected a lot of the time.

“Operation Leopard is still running to combat metal theft.

“Thieves are putting their lives at risk by cutting into cables.

“The disruption to the network is horrific.

“A four-hour stoppage of the line costs £1m. Sex assaults and rapes on the train are not common round here, it is a safe network.

“Trespass, theft of property and people being unfit to travel through drink are the main issues to combat.

“However, the majority of people that use the railway network behave.”

lFor more information and advice on how to travel safely and look after your property, visit www.btp.police.uk.