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Reports of violence, hate and sex crimes increase on public transport network

Thefts, fraud and drug crime reports have seen a fall

The number of violent attacks on trains has risen by 11%, official figures show.

Statistics released by British Transport Police (BTP) , which includes the London Underground , indicate there were 9,263 incidents of “violence against the person” in 2016/17 compared with 8,230 in 2015/16.

These included seven cases where the victim was killed, up from two a year earlier.

Sexual crime increased from 1,952 cases to 2,132 - an increase of 8%, BTP’s annual report shows.

Crime figures have been released by British Transport Police(Image: David Cotter)

Hate crime soared by 23%, with the force recording 2,756 offences in 2016/17.

BTP said it saw peaks in hate crime incidents after events such as the terror attack in Nice, France, in July 2016, and following the EU referendum in June last year , while another factor was likely to be its campaign to encourage people to report such abuse.

The force said 2,300 hate crimes were racially motivated, and nearly 40% of the victims were rail staff.

The findings echo figures released last month which showed the largest annual increase in crime recorded by police overall in a decade.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the number of crimes recorded by police in England and Wales was nearly five million in the year to March, marking a 10% rise compared with a year earlier.

BTP said although its report showed there was a 7% increase in recorded crime last year, the total 52,236 crimes amounted to 16 for every million passenger journeys on the rail network in England, Scotland and Wales.

There were also an extra 17.5 million passenger journeys in 2016/17 compared with 2015/16.

Thefts, fraud and drug crime were all down on the previous year.

The statistics also refer to London’s Docklands Light Railway, Emirates AirLine, Croydon Tramlink, the Midland Metro tram system, Sunderland Metro, and Glasgow Subway, which BTP also polices.

A British Transport Police officer on the London Underground(Image: JOHN D MCHUGH/AFP/Getty Images)

 

BTP Chief Constable Paul Crowther said: “As the network expands and becomes busier, it’s not surprising that more crimes are recorded.

"Stations are also becoming entertainment hubs, with Birmingham New Street and London St Pancras just two examples of railway stations attracting more people to their shops, bars and coffee shops.

“In addition to the increase in the number of people using the railway, we have also worked hard to make it easier for people to report crime to us.

“In the last 12 months, BTP officers have been at the forefront of a number of major incidents, including a tram derailment in Croydon in November and critical incidents in Westminster , Manchester and London Bridge and Borough Market.

“Coupled with increasing demand on our services, a growing rail infrastructure and the ever-present threat of terrorism, these are certainly challenging times for police forces.

"However, I am confident that BTP is in the right position to keep our railways safe for those who work and travel on them.”

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