Police to patrol West Midlands buses after Christina Edkins killing

Twelve special constables will boost the fight to make travel on public transport in the West Midlands safer in the wake of the death of Christina Edkins.

Christina Edkins
Christina Edkins

The men and women have been jointly recruited by West Midlands and British Transport Police and are due to join the specialist squad that deals with crime and anti-social behaviour on buses, trains and trams in the region next February after completing their training.

The Safer Travel Police Team target criminals who operate on public transport and encourage youngsters to behave properly on the public transport network.

Special constables have the same powers as regular officers and wear the same uniform while working a minimum of four hours each week.

Inspector Lee Gordon, in charge of the Safer Travel Team, said: “They will help to provide a visible reassurance for people using trains, trams and buses. Once their initial training is complete, they will be given on-the-job training and then be able to patrol on their own.”

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones, who has spearheaded a drive to make people feel safer when they use buses, trams and trains in the region, said: “These new recruits will be a fantastic addition to the Safer Travel Team in helping to protect the travelling community within the West Midlands.”

Crime on buses in the West Midlands has  fallen by 67 per cent in the last six years from around 7000 offences in 2006/7 to 2398 in the last financial year. A recent  report concluded: “We know that 17 per cent of passengers feel uncomfortable due to the anti social behaviour of others.”

Sixteen-year-old Christina Edkins was stabbed to death as she sat on the top deck of a bus in Hagley Road, Birmingham while on her way to school in Halesowen on March 7. Paranoid schizophrenic Phillip Simelane of Dalkeith Street, Walsall was this week ordered to be detained indefinitely in a secure mental hospital after admitting manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Comments for: "Police to patrol West Midlands buses after Christina Edkins killing"

Thehoffsleftsock

12 special constables should mean 12 PAID constables, no disrespect to specials, but a couple of weekends training should not replace 6 months training and 40plus hours a week on the job training, still better than nothing

thewiseone

That's a sticky plaster solution. The person who did this shouldn't have been on the streets in the first place and that is the issue that needs tackling.

Integrated intervention

He should have been on the streets, safe and well after some intervention by the almost non-existent mental health support.

At least two people have suffered in this case, their were two victims! The families involved can see that, why can not society as a whole?

We need to spend more on our mental health processes and staff, and the police need to be involved as well as social workers.

An integrated service is what is needed. Coroners are saying it, carers are and what is being done, I ask? Nothing, and the money input into mental care in comparison to other special needs is trivial.

When will people care? Lets see.

thewiseone

Accept what you are saying but he shouldn't have been on the streets in the mental health position he was in. I think we are saying the same thing.

St George

"He should have been on the streets"... not sure the family of Christina would agree. Although I believe (yet again) the 'system (including the police) have failed spectacularly in this case... lets not forget that apparently Simelane refused to get help and did not co-operate with the authorities. Not that that excuses the fact that he could of been sectioned earlier of course. But really, he should NOT of been walking the streets and knowing now how many times he came to the attention of the authorities, questions need to be asked. Quite frankly, i'm fed up with hearing the phrase "lessons to be learned".

Integrated intervention

Can agree with all.Released without anywhere to go is downright disgusting in a so called (un) civilised nation. I believe from the family comments - uncle- believes that there were two vitims. The male was a victim of the system that is inadequate and uncaring.

See other comments.

We all need to care more and speak out when inequality is seen.

Integrated intervention

Sectioning is NOT the solution.

When you are that ill then you do not know what you do or who people are. Sectioning is a crude tool that should be used with etreme care. provisos are needed such that professionals do not take on the 'God position' of thinking they are right. mentally ill people need protection from themselves but also from professionals who want the easy route to control.

Be wary of making sectioning easier. The family of Simelane know him best and should be closely involved in his care and hospitalisation.. This is not always the case where family are distanced or unavailable.

pat

In a nutshell, he and his victim were failed by the police , mental health services and prison services, there lies the responsibility, police on buses is a knee jerk reaction and does not in the least address the problem, the relevant authorities should take responsibility for this tragedy.

Colin Dodd.

Is this a joke???

12 new officers to police how many buses daily in the Birmingham/Wolverhampton area?

Anyone thinking of attacking someone on a bus would surely not pick one with a police officer in full view.

While I agree that this was a tragic, senseless act, how many people have been killed on buses compared to those killed, or viciously attacked on the street?

This is just a knee jerk reaction and is doomed to failure. People being paid to ride round on buses for a few hours a week will not stop this happening in the future.

Pete

You clearly didn't read the article. These 12 officers are specials. They are voulenteers.

Colin Dodd. the UK involved

Special constables have the same powers as regular officers and wear the same uniform while working a minimum of four hours each week.

If you wish to be pedantic I suppose you are right. You should not try and use words you cannot spell though.

Roy Jones

“They will help to provide a visible reassurance for people using trains, trams and buses. The chance of seeing one is about the same as winning the lotto!!! JOKE

macca

I have been saying for years there should be 2 security guards on every bus. The driver just drives. If you want to know where to get off or anything then you ask the security. People will not give up their cars to go on public transport (that includes trains) unless there is permanent security on board. People need to feel safe especially at night.

pete

And will you pay the fairs when they shoot up to a tenner a journey to pay these security guard salary? The overwhelming majority of us can sit on a bus, behave and not require a nanny on board.

On the odd occasions you do get someone misbehaving its generally because they think they can get away with it. I challenged someone swearing and when I got a mouthful back I turned to the other passengers who responded by staring at their feet. Clearly a ‘not my problem guv’ kind of attitude exists amongst most people.

Besides, the lesson of this story is that there are problems in the mental health system not the bus service.

Me

If it's safe to use public transport then how come nothing seems to happen when anti-social people use these services? I've seen countless occasions whereby the driver HAS been informed and basically refused to get involved. Iv'e seen people smoking drugs on buses, throwing items, and the driver refuses to get involved. Just twelve 'special constables' on our network isn't going to make much difference; it's not a concerted effort. Instead of fining people £75 for dropping cigarette ends why isn't something being done to tackle the louts preying on legitimate commuters? Hell, the police don't even open police stations at night, don't want to know unless the most severe crimes are being committed. The system stinks and the system is the reason the WM is seen as a joke and not just in terms of security on public transport..

John

Just 12 volunteers, each working four hours each week and expected to police the entire network including trains, trams and buses. Wow. Just wow. The level of disregard for public safety is self-evident.. visible reassurance? This policy is a visible laughing stock more like, and I think we all know the reason crime has reportedly been reduced (by such a ridiculously-large amount), is not because it's down.. it's because crime isn't being recorded properly, because criminals aren't being dealt with properly.. and because of state-sponsored propaganda campaigns like you see here. What does it take to get their head out the clouds? More incidents like this.. more elections on the horizon? Idiots.