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Number of people risking their lives trespassing in Scotland hits five-year-high

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Across Britain, one person trespasses on the railway every hour, putting their lives in danger

Alarming new figures from Network Rail and British Transport Police reveal more people than ever are risking their lives on the rail network by trespassing on the tracks in Scotland.

The data, which looks at trends over the last five years, shows trespass incidents are at all-time high in the region, while nationally one person trespasses and dices with death every hour. 

Last year alone there were 710 incidents where people risked their lives on the rail network in Scotland - a 16 per cent rise on the previous year. 

Research also shows young people are more likely to take a risk on the tracks, with seasonal peaks in incidents coinciding with the spring and summer school holidays.

Simon Constable, Head of Route Safety at Network Rail Scotland, said: "Every April we see a huge rise in the number of people taking a risk on the rail network and it’s worrying that these numbers seem to be going up. Britain has the safest railway in Europe but still too many people lose their lives on the tracks. The dangers may not always be obvious but the electricity on the railway is always on and trains can travel up to 125 miles per hour, so even if they see you, they can’t stop in time.

“As the railway gets busier and we electrify more lines to improve services, we must work harder to keep young people safe by making them aware of the dangers. It may seem harmless to take a shortcut, or fun to play on the tracks, but this is not only illegal, it is also very dangerous. Taking a short cut or messing around on the tracks can result in serious life-changing injuries or death.”

In response to the seasonal surge in incidents and to tackle the problem of youth trespass, Network Rail has launched a schools engagement programme, which aims to teach children in trespass hotspots about railway safety. Additionally, the ‘Tackling Track Safety’ programme will be rolled-out to more than 100 schools across Britain, using sport to educate children about the dangers across the network. 

In 2016, more than 56 children were caught trespassing by police in the region, with boys aged 14 to 16 being stopped the most. 

Superintendent David Marshall from British Transport Police, said: “We believe the number of children we encounter trespassing every year is sadly, just the tip of the iceberg. 

“Every single day we are called to the tracks because a train driver has had to sound their horn or apply their emergency brake In a desperate bid to avoid youths on the line, who then run off, seemingly unaware of the danger they have put themselves in. 

“We continue to do all we can to keep youngsters safe by patrolling areas where we know they’re likely to trespass and prevent them from doing so. However, we cover thousands of miles of track and we cannot tackle this issue alone. That is why we are urging parents and young people to heed this warning and take a reality check when it comes to trespass. It’s not a game: they are real tracks, with real trains and real-life consequences.”

New figures also highlight that youth trespass is more prevalent in areas where there is higher socio-economic deprivation. To help tackle this Network Rail has also joined forces with children’s charity Barnardo’s to deliver safety education in specific areas of need and where trespass rates are high. The organisation will be raising money for the charity and encouraging their staff to volunteer and help deliver these safety events. 

To find out how to keep your children safe on the railway this summer visit: : www.networkrail.co.uk/trespass or www.btp.police.uk/realitycheck
 
Campaign footage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QO5pI5pmYE4&feature=youtu.be 
 

Notes to Editors
 
Scotland Trespass Statistics
 
Number of trespass incidents in the last five years (calendar years) as below. Please note, these refer to BTP areas in this map rather than the specific towns/cities mentioned. Unfortunately, we are unable to break these stats down any further. 

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Scotland

Aberdeen

26

27

24

45

32

Dalmuir

14

13

9

15

21

Dundee

25

26

23

21

22

Falkirk / Stirling

31

26

39

16

37

Edinburgh

54

60

75

94

104

Inverness

19

13

21

18

25

Glasgow

139

163

143

183

210

Kilwinning

50

56

32

54

70

Kirkcaldy

28

50

44

38

37

Motherwell

66

81

84

72

88

Paisley

29

53

31

48

51

Perth

11

12

11

8

13

Totals

492

580

536

612

710

 
Scotland Trespass Statistics - Number of young people under the age of 18 who came to the attention of BTP in 2016 while trespassing, by region and county.
 
 

Scotland

 

Aberdeen City

1

North Lanarkshire

12

City of Edinburgh

6

Dumfries & Galloway

4

Dundee City

2

East Ayrshire

3

East Dunbartonshire

1

East Lothian

3

East Renfrewshire

2

Falkirk

2

Fife

3

Glasgow

6

Highland

4

Inverclyde

1

Renfrewshire

1

South Ayrshire

2

South Lanarkshire

1

West Dunbartonshire

1

West Lothian

1

TOTAL

56


 
 
 
National Trespass Statistics

Number of trespass incidents in England, Scotland and Wales in the last five years (calendar years):

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Total

6,655

6,689

6,645

7,452

8265

 
 
Media Interview Requests
 
If you would like to interview a officer from British Transport Police, please call the National Media Relations desk on 0300 123 9104 and speak with Matthew Woodhouse. Alternatively, email your request to MediaRelations@btp.pnn.police.uk
 

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