BTP supports Operation Sceptre with arrests across England, Scotland and Wales
Main article content
British Transport Police carried out a series of dawn raids, and removed drugs and weapons from the railway during a weeklong anti-knife operation.
Officers targeted suspects wanted for robbery and weapon enabled offences – during the raids, they arrested a man wanted for the sexual assault of a girl on a train from Highbury and Islington to Kings Cross in November. He has since been charged.
The week of action, named Operation Sceptre, was participated in by police forces across England, Wales and Scotland, with each carrying out daily operations targeting weapon enabled crime.
At Clapham Junction on Monday 26 April, officers working alongside BTPs County Lines Taskforce seized 500 wraps of class A drugs, and more than £2,000 in cash. The drugs have an approximate street value of between £9,000 and £20,000 depending on purity.
The seizure joins results throughout the week, with officers deployed at stations nationwide and patrolling trains:
In London and the Southeast the week of action resulted in 74 arrests for a variety of offences and 15 weapons seized. £11,800 was also seized during the operations, £5,000 of which was counterfeit.
In Scotland, officers carried out operations at Hamilton Central, Fife Circle service and Edinburgh Waverley station.
Knives and drugs were seized in operations across stations in Manchester and Leeds. At Manchester Piccadilly station officers seized more than 200 wraps of class A drugs in two separate arrests.
Officers teamed up with South Wales Police and West Mercia Police for operations at stations across Wales and the borders, including Cardiff Central, Swansea, Neath and Hereford. Knife arches were used to detect weapons and officers engaged with passengers about the dangers of carrying knives. One knife was handed in by a member of the public at Hereford station.
Hundreds of passengers were spoken to by officers during operations at Bath Spa and Bristol Temple Meads station. Passengers passed through the metal-detecting knife arches, which were erected at the stations during the week, and officers raised awareness of the dangers of knife crime.
Officers and staff across the Midlands conducted knife arch operations and high-visibility patrols during the week. Our Safer Travel team, working with West Midlands Police, also conducted operations at metro and bus stations, with a number of weapons removed from circulation. Enquiries are ongoing into suspected offences.
One of the arrests during the week was of a 16-year-old boy who had been linked to the robbery and attempted robbery of six people across two days in April.
The crimes were committed across the London Underground Network, primarily on the Piccadilly, Bakerloo and Victoria Lines. He was arrested by BTPs Violent Crime Taskforce.
The same team also worked alongside Hampshire Police at Portsmouth station to arrest two people for carrying a weapon, one for money laundering, one for possessing class B drugs with intent to supply and one for possessing class A drugs with intent to supply.
Operation lead for London and the South East, Chief Inspector Stuart Middlemas, said: “The jurisdiction of BTP links every police force across England, Wales and Scotland. So while offences on the railway itself are rare, criminals do use it to transport drugs and cash and carry weapons.
“This presents us with a unique opportunity. Stations act as a bottleneck, funnelling thousands of people each day through our operations. With the help of knife arches, drugs dogs and plain clothed officers we can identify offenders, and make the railway a very hostile place for criminals. In the same breath, we’re also encouraging the safety and security of all passengers and staff.
“We use these tactics year round to target knife crime, as well as County lines, unwanted sexual behaviour and robbery.”