The new ‘Safe Transport Team’ follows a recent meeting facilitated by Translink at which stakeholders and the PSNI collaborated on next steps to tackle the problems.
The initiatives discussed included additional coverage from Translink and the PSNI over weekends at hot-spots, enforcement of by-law infringements and looking at options which have proved successful in Great Britain, such as ‘Safe Shelters’.
Translink has welcomed the assistance given by the PSNI, local representatives and community organisations, such as the YMCA, who have all played vital roles in making the network safe.
The six-month pilot will see officers work collaboratively with Translink and Local Neighbourhood Teams to provide a visible, reassuring presence for members of the public.
It sits alongside a range of other Translink initiatives,including on social media and co-operation with local representatives and others to help ensure safe journeys for everyone.
Veronica Woods, NI Railways Northern Area Route manager, said; “As part of our ongoing safety campaign, we’re delighted to be working alongside the PSNI to help keep people safe and educate young people on the dangers of loitering at or near stations.
“We are also working closely with the local community and recently met with local representatives and stakeholders in the Carrickfergus area to explore further initiatives that would allow us engage with local young people on the risks of loitering near our sites in order to deter local incidents of trespass and general messing about at stations and on tracks.
“We’ve also worked with local schools and community organisations to raise awareness of this issue, and are continuing to explore a number of different options as a resolution in the weeks ahead.
“Keeping people safe is always Translink’s top priority and this initiative is part of a wider-ranging programme to raise awareness around the dangers of loitering at stations and the need to keep everyone safe, including a new #LetsGoSafelyTogether social media campaign, which flags up some of the risks associated with anti-social behaviour.
“Working alongside our staff, the new Safe Transport Team trial is a further significant step in our partnership to help make the local public transport network even safer.”
Passengers will be encouraged to assist the Safe Transport Team by reporting anything that doesn’t feel right or seems suspicious. Officers will regularly travel on public transport and around stations ready to listen and act.
The Area Route manager added: “We look forward to building on this partnership, giving everyone further confidence to travel safely, but the whole community has a part to play. We encourage parents and carers to know where their children are, particularly at evenings and weekends, and to discourage anti-social behaviour to ensure that everyone’s journey is safe and free from trouble.
“We will continue to work closely with the PSNI, representatives and other stakeholders on this matter over the coming weeks and months and will be following prosecution of by-law infringements to ensure we maintain a safe and comfortable transport experience for all our passengers.”
Translink points out can also report a crime or anti-social behaviour via the non-emergency number 101 or submit a report online using our non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/. In an emergency always dial 999.
East Antrim Alliance’s Stewart Dickson MLA and Alderman Noel Williams were among those who attended the interagency meeting. In a statement, Ald Williams said: “There is little doubt that the anti-social behaviour (ASB) at the hotspots of Greenisland and Clipperstown stations is causing great concern, and on many occasions even fear, for commuters.
“I am hopeful that this joint initiative will benefit the youths and make them realise that they could be harming their future life opportunities by acting in this way.
“Moreover, I would encourage parents to support their children in finding more purposeful ways to enjoy time with their friends. I would also commend the YMCA Team who have worked with the young people to endeavour to mitigate the effects of ASB.”
Mr Dickson commented: “The Translink and PSNI ‘Safe Transport Team’ will be operating and youngsters should realise that falling foul of these teams could earn a ban from Translink services, and ultimately cause great personal inconvenience when needing to commute in the future.”
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