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Passengers across Wales urged to travel safe this festive season

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British Transport Police (BTP) and Transport for Wales is launching its biggest joint operation this Christmas to keep passengers across Wales safe during the festive season. 

Operation Genesis will focus mainly on Cardiff Central, Cardiff Queen Street, Newport and Swansea railway stations, although there will be an increased presence across the network throughout the month. 

With emphasis on Fridays and Saturdays throughout December, the operation will see an increase in high-visibility patrols on trains and at stations, as well as covert policing to target issues including anti-social behaviour, theft of passenger property and alcohol-related disorder.

The operation aims to prevent crime and stop people who are too intoxicated from travelling, as well as provide reassurance and personal safety advice to passengers. 

The run-up to Christmas sees a spike in the number of intoxication incidents on the railway across Britain, including slips, trips and falls at stations as well as more serious trespass offences. Incidents rise to an average of 25 a day over Christmas across the UK - double the amount compared to previous months, and recent figures show a 30 per cent increase in alcohol-related incidents on the railway in the last decade. 

In addition to safety concerns, more than 4,300 hours of delays nationally were attributed to alcohol-related incidents last year, causing misery for rail passengers.

In December 2018, at Cardiff Central station alone, BTP made 30 arrests, conducted 83 stop checks and ejected over 100 people from the station, as part of Operation Genesis. 

Chief Inspector Jonathan Cooze said: “We want to make sure everyone enjoys the festive period and we’ll be working closely with our partners to ensure everyone does so safely. The railway can be a dangerous place, so we urge passengers to take extra care of themselves and others during this period to make sure they have a safe journey.

“We see how alcohol can really affect people’s judgement and after a few drinks people often take greater risks, which can lead to very serious consequences. 

“We’d also like to remind people to please be mindful of other passengers and rail staff who will be doing their best at this busy time of the year.

“We’ll have extra patrols in place across the network and we’ll be here to help anyone who needs it.”

Bill Kelly, Network Rail’s route director for Wales and Borders, added: “Safety on and around the rail network is absolutely paramount to Network Rail. The safety of passengers, our employees and the safety of our partners sits at the very heart of our organisation. 

“We know that December can be a critical month when it comes to maintaining safety on and around the network. While we want members of the public to celebrate and enjoy the festivities around this time of the year, it is of the utmost importance that we put in place measures and work closely with our partners to ensure a minority of people don’t spoil it for the majority. There are many obvious and hidden dangers around the network and we call on the public to take make sensible decisions when travelling over this period.”

Head of Security for Transport for Wales, Simon Turton said: “We want all our customers to be able to enjoy the festive period and most importantly, to get home safe.

“As such we will be working closely with our partners in the British Transport Police and Network Rail to keep all our customers and our colleagues safe with extra staff out at stations over the festive period.

“If you have had a few drinks please try to be respectful of other passengers and also be aware that if you are heavily intoxicated you may be refused travel. 

“It may sound obvious, but stations can be dangerous places if you have had a drink so please do keep well back from the platform edge until your train has come to a stop and the doors are open.”

Passengers are advised to stay safe by:

•             Standing back from the platform edge, behind the yellow line

•             Holding onto the handrail on stairs and escalators

•             Walking – not running

•             Staying off the railway tracks

•             Using level crossings safely

•             Speaking to staff if help is needed.

If you see something that doesn’t seem right, text BTP on 61016 or call 0800 40 50 40. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

 

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