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British Transport Police (BTP) and Transport Scotland is launching a joint operation this Christmas which will include more officers on the network to ensure everyone enjoys the festive season safely.
BTP wants everyone to have fun during the festive period and will be on patrol to engage with the public to raise awareness of reporting crimes on the rail network using the text 61016 number.
The patrols will focus mainly on Glasgow Central, Glasgow Queen Street, and Edinburgh Waverley railway stations, although there will be an increased presence across the network throughout the month.
With emphasis on Fridays and Saturdays throughout December, the operation will see an increase in high-visibility patrols on trains and at stations dedicated to keeping the public safe. The patrols will be in place to tackle anti-social behaviour, sexual harassment and to increase awareness of the 61016 text number for reporting crimes on the rail network.
BTP is also reminding the public to be respectful to rail staff and to continue following the health regulations when traveling on the network by wearing a face covering when traveling unless you are exempt.
The operation aims to prevent crime and to ensure that the railway remains a safe place to travel, as well as provide reassurance and personal safety advice to passengers.
Superintendent David Marshall, Head of operations in Scotland, said: “We want to make sure everyone enjoys the festive season with friends and family. We’ll be working closely with our partners to ensure everyone does so safely.
“Our officers will continue patrolling the rail network and they will be reminding passengers of our text 61016 number for reporting crimes on the rail network. Please save the number on your phone. If you need us, text the number.
“Despite more police officers on the rail network, rail staff and members of the public are our eyes and ears and a major part of the railway family.
“Passengers have a vital role to play in helping make the rail network safe for everyone, by reporting anything that doesn’t feel right - for example an unattended item, someone acting suspiciously or inappropriately, or looking distressed, lost or vulnerable.
“By working together, we can ensure everyone enjoys this festive period safely.”
Graeme Dey, Minister for Transport said: “Abuse of rail workers and other passengers is wholly unacceptable; violence and abuse will not be tolerated. This campaign has my full backing as those working on our public transport have an indisputable right to go about their business without being subjected to verbal or physical assault.
“The Scottish Government stands firmly beside our transport providers and trade unions in speaking out on this matter. It is absolutely clear that the public should not only give their support too, by refraining any unnecessary behaviour, but also actively report it where they see incidents or suspicious behaviour occur.”
John McBrinn, ScotRail Customer Operations Manager, said: “It’s important that people enjoy the festive period, but it’s also important that everyone – customers and our staff – are able to complete their journeys safely and peacefully.
“We will assist British Transport Police in any way we can to help tackle any anti-social behaviour on trains and around stations over the festive period, and we’d encourage anyone who has safety concerns to contact BTP using their discreet text service, or call 999 in an emergency.”
A joint statement from ASLEF, TSSA, Unite and RMT said “We want everyone to enjoy themselves and travel by rail to get home safe but ask all travellers to respect fellow passengers and especially rail staff not only during the festive period but all year round.”
BTP have an array of tactics to deter and detect crime, including our network of uniformed police, plain-clothed officers and 150,000 CCTV cameras.
If you do see anything that doesn’t feel right report it by texting us on 61016, send us the details via our online reporting tool or call 0800 40 50 40 at any time. If you or someone else is in immediate danger, always call 999.