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BOWIS ISSUES 'SECURE STATIONS' CHALLENGE TO RAIL INDUSTRY

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Transport minister John Bowis today challenged Britain's rail companies to improve security at their stations and t...
Transport minister John Bowis today challenged Britain's rail companies to improve security at their stations and to display to their customers that their stations are virtually crime-free zones.

The minister asked the industry to join with the government to develop a national 'Secure Stations' scheme. This would bring recognition to those operators and stations that had made particular efforts to ensure their customers' personal security.

Mr Bowis said:

'Public transport provide safe travel and the majority of our railway stations are safe places to travel from.

'Unfortunately there is a public perception that our trains and stations provide an environment where they are not secure from crime.

'Much has already been done around the country by our rail operators and police forces to dispel that notion. In particular, Chiltern Railways, LTS Rail, South Eastern Trains, Thameslink and ScotRail have implemented schemes to substantially increase the visible levels of personal security offered to their customers.

'A national initiative would provide recognition to such successful schemes, establish standards for best practice and accredit individual stations which had worked with local British Transport Police to implement security measures.

'The success of such a scheme would be measured not only in reduced crime levels, increased passenger numbers and a boost in public confidence.

'As our railway industry enters a new era of private ownership and competition, it is in the interests of both operators and customers for successes to be publicised. I am confident that the industry will welcome such a scheme and meet the challenge which it offers.'

Mr Bowis also announced that the department of transport is commissioning research to examine whether the public perception of the risk of crime on public transport stops them from using it and what operators can do to make passengers feel more secure.

The minister said that guidelines were being issued to help operators to assess their own infrastructure and procedures on the grounds of personal security.

'Personal security is important to all of us,' he said.

'It is in the best interests of all those involved in public transport to underline to their customers the measures that are in place to enhance this.'

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