Scheme to tackle anti-social behaviour on public transport

By on 05/02/2014 in News

Young people who vandalise buses and trains could be put to work repairing the damage as part of a scheme tackling anti-social behaviour on public transport in Birmingham.

Cllr Jess Phillips

Cllr Jess Phillips

Meeting members of the public and transport staff who are victims of their abuse or attacks will also be on the agenda under the Restorative Justice project plan being introduced by Birmingham Youth Offending Service and the Safer Travel Partnership.

The pilot scheme is for young people aged between 10 and 18-years-old across Birmingham.

It aims to hold young people accountable for their actions so they recognise the harm caused to the victim and the community rather than prosecuting them and giving them a criminal record.

The scheme is being launched today Wednesday (February 5) by Cllr Judith Rowley of transport authority Centro and Cllr Jess Phillips, the Birmingham Victims’ Champion.

Cllr Rowley said: “Crime on the public transport network is very low but anti-social behaviour such as verbal abuse, smoking and vandalism can create poor public perception around safety which can deter people from using it.

“Bringing in the perpetrators and showing them just what impact their actions have on other people, plus putting them to work to repair damage they may have caused, can be a very effective way of deterring repeat behaviour.”

Anti-social behaviour has been identified as a key concern amongst passengers in the region.

But restorative justice has been known to reduce reoffending by as much as 27 per cent.

A similar scheme to the Birmingham pilot run by the passenger transport authority Nexus in north-east England reported continuous success in tackling the problem.

Cllr Phillips said the Nexus scheme had used a range of measures such as cleaning vehicles, litter picking at depots, letters of apology and graffiti removal.

“Engagement in these projects by young people saw the barriers come down between them and authority,” she said.

“Personal relationships were formed and young people started to show more interest and respect, which led to a reduction in reoffending.”

The Birmingham project will work with 32 offenders over a 24 week period and if successful will be developed in other parts of the West Midlands.

It will cost a total of £22,000 and is being funded by Centro through the government's Transport Regeneration Fund, with match funding by Birmingham Youth Offending Service.

The scheme is cost effective - for every £1 spent on restorative justice the criminal justice system saves £9.

The Safer Travel Partnership is a collaboration between Centro, British Transport Police and West Midlands Police.

Together with transport operators it works to reassure the travelling public and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour on the public transport network.

The Birmingham Victims Champion represents people affected by crime and anti-social behaviour and works to ensure the police, courts and probation services meet their needs.

ENDS

More information from Mark Langford, Centro Media Officer, on 0121 214 7278/07824626952 email; marklangford@centro.org.uk

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