Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Connex Pays Staff to Join the Police

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Connex Pays Staff to Join the Police

Article excerpt


UNIFORMED officers are to patrol trains and buses in the capital in response to a rise in violent attacks which is deterring people from using public transport.

In what is believed to be the first time a major employer has sponsored staff to become special constables, rail firm Connex is paying 15 employees pound sterling1,000 each to work for the British Transport Police. If successful, the scheme may be implemented by other rail operators.

In a wider move, officers will also be placed on buses serving the most crime-hit routes in a Greater London Authority-backed scheme which will cost council taxpayers tens of millions of pounds.

The team of part-time officers on trains will help patrol lines throughout south-east London, which are said to be among the worst in the country for robberies and vandalism.

Each of the 15 special constables has been through regular training and will work for the BTP for at least four hours a week. They may work more hours in their own time.

Olivier Brousse, Connex chief executive, said: "This will undoubtedly help combat crime on the network which will benefit passengers and staff alike."

Ian Johnstone, BTP chief constable, described the move as a " groundbreaking partnership between the police and the employer". Transport Minister John Spellar said: "We will be looking for other operators to take the same positive attitude as Connex towards passenger safety and I hope this will be the first of many such schemes."

Connex's decision to put the officers in place follows a flood of complaints to police, train and bus companies from users who had suffered muggings and watched as heroin, crack and cannabis is used openly. In only one week of a special operation aimed at cleaning up Victoria last year police arrested 90 suspected drug addicts and thieves.

Those targeted included people who stole, begged and pickpocketed at Victoria station and then travelled to Brixton to buy drugs.

Ken Livingstone will launch the start of the five-year scheme - costing pound sterling25 million a year and which also includes traffic wardens to keep bus lanes clear - early next month. …

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