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British Transport Police and Transport for Wales reveal success of joint operation to keep passengers safe over Christmas

Figures from British Transport Police (BTP) reveal that nearly 300 passengers across Wales were deemed too intoxicated to travel during the Christmas period.


BTP teamed up with Transport for Wales to launch its biggest ever joint operation to keep passengers across Wales safe during the festive season.


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 in 2018, causing misery for rail passengers.


Focused mainly on Fridays and Saturdays over the period, Operation Genesis saw an increase in high-visibility patrols on trains and at stations, as well as covert policing to target issues including anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related disorder. 


The aim of the operation was to prevent crime and stop people who were too intoxicated from travelling, as well as provide reassurance and personal safety advice to passengers.


Visibility increased at every main station over the month, with over 800 train patrols conducted by BTP across Wales. Including statistics from Transport for Wales, Silurian and Sword security – in total around 600 people were ejected from stations across Wales, until it was decided they were safe to travel.


As part of the operation, 64 arrests were made across Wales, with 21 of these for Drunk and Disorderly offenses. Friday 20 - Saturday 21 December was the busiest weekend in terms of recorded crime and Cardiff Central station saw the highest number of arrests during the operation with 24.*


BTP Sergeant Joshua Hopkins said: “Safety of passengers and rail staff is our main priority, which is why we teamed up with Transport for Wales to ensure everyone could enjoy the festive period safely.


“Rail is one of the safest ways to travel - but, 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. To prevent any serious incidents, we asked people who were too intoxicated to sober up before coming back to travel. 


“We believe this prevented any more serious alcohol-related incidents from occurring. Due to the success of the operation, we will continue to work closely with Transport for Wales to adopt the same tactics for the Six Nations and future events in Wales.”


Transport for Wales Safety and Assurance Director, Leyton Powell, said: “We know the festive period is an opportunity for our customers to celebrate and enjoy themselves with colleagues, friends and families.  As a rail operator we appreciate the role we all play in our community getting people to great venues and back home safely; keeping all our travelling customers safe and secure.


“Throughout the year Transport for Wales Rail Services worked in partnership with our colleagues at British Transport Police (BTP) to ensure that we enable safe travel and a safe working environment for our people. This Christmas we worked closer than ever under Operation Genesis, adding additional security from Silurian and Sword and releasing additional budget to support more BTP officers at stations across Wales and Borders.


“Our approach was to ensure everyone was empowered to be safe at all times, and this did create some difficult decisions when people were turned away for the safety of themselves and others. Our joined-up method was positive and the suggestion to most to ‘go get a strong coffee and food and come back later’ was positively met. The result was that we had less on train incidents associated with alcohol than previous years, which demonstrates our commitment to colleagues and customers.” 





*These figures were recorded from 1 – 24 December 2019.

A full breakdown of British Transport Police figures are as follows:


Cardiff – 24

Newport/ Pontypridd - 13

Swansea - 9

North Wales stations – 11

Shrewsbury – 7


South Wales stations (Cardiff/Newport/ Pontypridd) – 116

Swansea – 80

North Wales stations – 53

Shrewsbury – 48




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