Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

95% of Rail Stations Are Still Not Safe; Are You Disheartened by the Many Day-Today Frustrations of Living in London? Today the Evening Standard Runs the First in an Occasional Series Investigating How the Capital Could Work Better for Londoners

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

95% of Rail Stations Are Still Not Safe; Are You Disheartened by the Many Day-Today Frustrations of Living in London? Today the Evening Standard Runs the First in an Occasional Series Investigating How the Capital Could Work Better for Londoners

Article excerpt

Byline: JASON BEATTIE

THE FAILURE to improve safety at Britain's crimeblighted railway stations is revealed today. New figures show just a handful of stations are doing enough to protect passengers from theft and assault.

The vast majority have either failed to meet tough safety criteria or have avoided undergoing the necessary inspections.

The findings come after an Evening Standard campaign highlighted the squalid state of many stations in the South-East. Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott promised to tackle the problem when he introduced the "safe stations" scheme six years ago.

But latest figures show that out of the 2,503 stations in Britain only 118 - five per cent - have been deemed safe.

The poor take-up for the scheme comes despite an increase in the number of crimes at stations. The figure has risen from 94,759 incidents in 2003 to 96,773 incidents in 2004.

Violent crime on the railways rose by more than 10 per cent in the year to March: there were almost 50 robberies at Lewisham and Bromley stations in six weeks alone.

The Liberal Democrats said the safe stations scheme was a shambles.

To gain "secure station" status under the scheme, train companies have to meet a range of criteria. These include providing CCTV, good lighting, secure fencing and an increased staff presence.

Accreditation lasts for two years, after which time companies must reapply.

In the London area, some companies such as WAGN, South Eastern and First Great Western Link (formerly Thames Trains), responsible for more than 300 stations between them, do not have a single station eligible for the scheme.

Among the other companies, Southern (previously South Central) has only two of its 161 stations accredited; Silverlink has eight of 86 stations signed to the scheme; and Thameslink has 11 approved stations out of 27. …

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