A rise in sexual and violent offences has fuelled a 17% increase in crimes recorded on Britain's railways, according to official figures. Some 61,1
A rise in sexual and violent offences has fuelled a 17% increase in crimes recorded on Britain’s railways, according to official figures.
Some 61,159 crimes were reported by British Transport Police (BTP) in 2017-2018 – the previous 12 months had seen 52,235 crimes reported.
Sexual offences increased by 16% to 2,472.
BTP say the true figure could be even higher, believing “there are still many more crimes of this type which go unreported”.
Violent crime accounts for nearly one in five of all cases after rising by 26% to 11,711.
Offences involving knives or other weapons went up by 46% to 206, while robbery jumped by 53% to 553 recorded crimes.
BTP’s figures show a number of other crimes increasing on the rail network, including:
:: Throwing missiles at trains – up 35% to 316
:: Arson – up 93% to 143
:: Live cable theft – up 86% to 158
:: Theft from vending machines – up 21% to 240
More people than ever before are trespassing on the tracks, accounting for 43% of disruption to trains, compared with 38% last year.
BTP chief constable Paul Crowther said: “The chances of becoming a victim of crime on the rail network remains low.
“However, after a long period of steady decreases, both crimes per million passenger journeys and notifiable offences have increased.”
The force said the increase in the total number of crimes is partly due to improving the way crime is recorded.
The statistics noted on railways reflects the increase in crime rates across England and Wales.
Forces in England and Wales registered just under 1.4 million offences in the “violence against the person” category in 2017/18 – a rise of nearly a fifth (19%) compared with the previous year.
Paul Plummer, chief executive of industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said: “The nature of some crimes is changing and as part of our long-term plan to change and improve, we are investing in new technology and innovations to make our railway even safer for our staff and customers.”