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.
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.Subscribe to our Newsletter