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Nearly 4,000 violent assaults reported on trains in past year

Nearly 4,000 violent assaults were reported on trains in Britain in the past year, figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats show (Lynne Cameron/PA)
Nearly 4,000 violent assaults were reported on trains in Britain in the past year, figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats show (Lynne Cameron/PA)

Nearly 4,000 violent assaults were reported on trains in Britain in the past year, figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats show.

The party called for “a serious strategy” to tackle crime on the railways as it accused the Conservatives of being “all bark and no bite”.

British Transport Police (BTP) statistics show 3,991 incidents of violence against the person were reported on trains in the year to the end of November.

That is up 12% from the previous 12 months.

The figures also show 699 robberies were reported on trains in the year to the end of November, up 18% year on year, while sexual offences rose by 2.3% to 1,419.

Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Olney, who obtained the data through a Freedom of Information request, said: “People deserve to feel safe when on public transport, yet these alarming figures tell a different story.

“Far too often our train carriages are being turned into crime scenes as violent criminals are allowed to terrorise other passengers with impunity.

“This Conservative Government is all bark and no bite. Rather than yet more rhetoric, we need a serious strategy to tackle this rise in crime on our railways.

“The public deserves better – which is why the Liberal Democrats are calling for a return to local community policing which will help keep us safe.”

BTP head of crime and public protection Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Furnell said: “Tackling crimes such as robbery and sexual offences are a force priority and we have dedicated taskforces as a result.

“We are committed to making the network a hostile place for those who seek to commit such offences.

“We are aware the data might not represent a true increase, with travel numbers only recently returning to pre-Covid levels.

“Additionally, we continue to campaign to encourage victims and witnesses to report to us as a priority – particularly for sexual offences which we know are under-reported – and with this we expect the number of reports to continue to increase.

“As a result of this, we continue our work to make reporting as accessible as possible for the travelling public, with our discreet text 61016 service turning 10 this year and the introduction of the free Railway Guardian app in 2022.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are providing police forces with the tools they need to deliver for the public and since 2010, our communities are safer.

“Neighbourhood crimes including burglary, robbery and theft are down 50% and violent crime is down 52%.

“There are also now 149,500 police officers keeping the public safe in England and Wales – the highest number on record.”