In recent years BTP has seen an increase in trespass and other related route crime during the school holidays. With the October half-term already underway, BTP is urging parents to make sure they know where their children are and to ensure they know about the potential hazards posed by the railway network.
BTP officers and Network Rail staff work throughout the year to help educate young people that playing on or near the railway could have fatal consequences. Operation Fortress has now begun to further tackle trespass through education, engagement and crime prevention.
Chief Inspector Tom Naughton said: “The railway is a predominantly safe place and is regularly patrolled by BTP and Network Rail in a CCTV rich environment. Inappropriate use of the railway can have devastating consequences to the individuals involved and others. It can also cause delays to fellow passengers, right across the network. Our main aim is to prevent anyone accessing the network when they shouldn’t be.”
This week officers will be carrying out increased patrols in a bid to ward off potential trespassers and undertake track walks to identify any damage to fences that need repairing.
CI Naughton added: “During the school holidays our officers will be patrolling across the network to try and ensure young people remain safe and enjoy their holiday.”
Darren Cottrell, Network Rail head of level crossing safety, said: “We have one of the safest railways in Europe but level crossings remain a risk, where the road or a path meets the tracks. We’re spending £100m on improving level crossing safety but tragically still a number of young people are injured or killed each year, many seemingly distracted by their mobile phones, music or conversation. This half term we urge everyone to take care and stay safe at level crossings, making sure you stop, look and listen before you cross.”
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