The panel, entitled Safer Travel On Buses and Coaches Panel (STOP),will bring together bus operators, unions, transport and local authorities, the police, passenger groups and officials from government Departments. It is charged with considering how to combat assaults, anti-social behaviour and vandalism on vehicles and property.
barrier to travelling on public transport.
'This new official-level group will deal specifically with bus and coach security issues and will work to bring together all those involved in dealing with the issue of safety. It is charged with the important task of facilitating the exchange of ideas and spreading best practice.'
The panel will also commission regular data collection and ad-hoc research of assaults, which it will use to discuss ideas and issue relevant advice to operators.
John Spellar added; 'We are determined to reduce crime on our vital public transport services. Ultimately we want to ensure that bus and coach crews and passengers can be confident of travelling in safety.'
The first meeting of the panel will be held in the autumn of this year. The Department will now be inviting representatives of bus operators, unions, transport and local authorities, passengers and the police to become members of the panel.
The terms of reference for the new STOP group are as follows:
- To bring together those agencies and other bodies that have a role to play in improving bus and coach security and to promote, encourage and co-ordinate relevant action by them.
- To commission regular data collection of assaults on bus and coach staff and passengers and of vandalism of vehicles and property.
- To consider problems arising in the collection of accurate bus and coach crime data and make recommendations for improvements.
- To commission related research as necessary on an ad hoc basis.
- To study the results of the regular data collection and any ad hoc research, facilitating the exchange of ideas between members with operational experience and professional expertise on good practice for combating the crime problems, and when necessary making recommendations for improvements.
- TO disseminate information on good practice in improving personal security and tackling crime in bus and coach travel and consider the need for a code of practice for operators on preventing it and dealing with it when it occurs. If a need for such a code of practice is identified, to agree, disseminate and keep it under review.
- To keep ministers appraised of trends and developments.
STOP will continue the work of the Standing Panel on Assaults Against Bus Staff (STAB), which was formed in 1986 to keep the level of assaults against bus staff and passengers, and vandalism of vehicles, equipment and shelters under review and to act as a forum for ideas on preventive measures.