‘Emerging threat’ of anti-social behavior by young people on trains and buses in Scotland – British Transport Police

The head of the British Transport Police (BTP) in Scotland has said antisocial behavior on the rail network could spread to buses once free travel is extended to those under 22 from the end of January.

Chief Superintendent Gill Murray said antisocial behavior had been “high” since the start of the Covid pandemic last year, and included “a wide range of crimes, from low-intensity nuisance and vandalism to threatening behavior and violent directed against peers, passengers and authority figures ”.

The Scottish BTP division commander said at a Scottish Railways Police Committee (SRPC) meeting: “The future threat to us is especially around these free buses coming in.

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Chief Superintendent Gill Murray said free buses for children under 22 posed a “threat” to anti-social behavior.

“The [Scottish] The government is going to offer free trips to people under the age of 22 which, given what we have had with youth behavior before and the work we have done with children so far, this could influence that.”

BTP told Scotland on Sunday that the comment referred to the force which raised concerns in April about young people traveling far on the rail network without parental consent or knowing their whereabouts.

Dozens of children, some of whom were only 12 years old, have been found up to 40 kilometers from their homes.

Last month, a 14-year-old boy died after being found seriously injured at Glasgow High Street station.

Three young people were charged with an alleged assault the day before against a 13-year-old boy on a train near Bellgrove.

Superintendent Murray was questioned at the SRPC meeting on Tuesday by a member of the Scottish Police Authority and former Deputy Chief Constable of Lothian and Borders Police, Tom Halpin: “Is there an emerging problem more broad regarding youth and gangs on the rail network? “

She replied, “From a societal perspective, we have certainly seen a threat or an emerging trend around young people today.

“Antisocial behavior is a threat. “

A spokesperson for the BTP later confirmed: “We are aware of groups of young people who congregate on trains from the point of view of antisocial behavior.

“We fully understand that the two violent incidents in Glasgow last month will have raised concerns, and passengers will have noticed increased patrols on trains, as well as the use of [metal-detecting] knife arches in stations, in response to this.

“Fortunately incidents like this remain rare on the railway in Scotland and we work tirelessly to ensure that the network remains a safe place to travel.

“Passengers continue to be our eyes and ears, and they can help us by reporting crimes and issues by texting 61016 or calling 999 in an emergency.”

A large bus company said it was confident all young people involved in anti-social behavior could be traced using onboard video surveillance and smart cards that they will need to use to travel for free.

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Free bus trips for under 22s across Scotland to start in January

Paul White, director of the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK – Scotland, which represents bus operators, said: “We would be doing young people a disservice to assume that the free travel program will lead to an increase in cases of anti-social behavior in communities. bus.

“However, the government and bus operators need to work together to educate young people on how to behave on a bus, such as wearing a mask and respecting other passengers.”

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