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Concern over crime on south Essex trains
THERE has been a sharp increase in violent crime on south Essex trains over the last two years, new figures reveal.
In the first nine months of this year, there were 42 violent incidents on trains which run out of Southend – already more than took place in the whole of 2011.
Between Southend Victoria and Shenfield station this year there have already been 20 incidents – including three cases of actual bodily harm and nine assaults – compared to 16 last year.
In total, figures obtained by the Echo after a freedom of information request, show there have been 127 violent crimes on trains in south Essex since January 2011.
Rail groups have called for more staff to be present on trains to help cut down on crime – while police say crime has fallen over a longer period.
Peter Slattery, chairman of the Southend Rail Travellers’ Association, said: “I’m sad to see that violent crime seems to be creeping up again on trains.
“There are some security guards on the c2c line on late night trains and I think having a presence on trains really does help people feel safe and helps prevent crime.
“But it does come down to cost, I think, for why they’re not there more. But a presence really does seem to calm people down.”
He added that he’d like to see ticket barriers stay shut until the last service has finished.
A spokesman for the British Transport Police said the figures should be viewed in the context of hundreds of thousands of journeys being made throughout the area every day.
He added: “Since 2009, violent offences have almost halved across the c2c and Greater Anglia rail routes, with common assaults falling by seven offences so far this year.
“There have not been any grievous bodily harm or wounding offences in 2013 and robberies are still very rare, with just five incidents.
“Passengers and rail staff rightly expect a safe and secure rail network and we will continue working hard to carry on delivering a safer travelling environment for all.”
A c2c spokesman said that all crime, including theft, was down across the whole of its line by almost 8 per cent this year so far.
He added that to make customers feel safe, the company had “introduced our travelling security teams equipped with head-cameras on late-night services, and also ensured every c2c station now has ticket gates.”
A Greater Anglia spokeswoman said: “Since taking over the franchise last year, we have introduced an increased staff presence on the Southend Victoria line, where our 'making travel safer officers’ who are based in Southend, work closely with the British Transport Police and our revenue protection inspectors in tackling crime on our network.”
Both companies said they would work closely with police to try to reduce the numbers further.
- ON SEPTEMBER 8, an 18-year-old woman was left with a black eye when she was punched in the face after intervening in an argument between a group she was travelling with, at Southend East. Police are still trying to find the culprit.
- A TEENAGE girl pleaded guilty to two counts of assaulting a police officer on a train at Wickford. The incident took place on August 7 at the station. The 17-year-old, who can’t be named, was given a youth rehabilitation order, as well as ordered to undergo programmes of activity and supervision by Basildon Youth Court two weeks ago.
- TWO teenage girls were ordered to pay £20 compensation each at Southend Youth Court two weeks ago after assaulting a woman on a train. The two 17-year-olds were also given six-month referral orders following an altercation with a woman on a Liverpool Street to Rayleigh train.
They each pleaded guilty to the charge of assault by beating, but denied spitting or punching the victim – which they were arrested for - on March 23 this year. They admitted “pushing and shoving” their victim in the incident.
- THREE teenage girls will stand trial later this year accused of being involved in two separate fights on trains. The girls, aged between 15 and 17, have been charged with affray, after an incident on a train between Laindon and Pitsea on Saturday, July 27. Two of the group, a 15-year-old from Harwich and a 17-year-old from Basildon, are also charged with affray and four counts of common assault after an incident on a train out of Southend Central on Friday, August 2.
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