NORTHUMBRIA’S crime commissioner has vowed to make the North East Metro’s systems safer at night.
Vera Baird told The Journal that there was a need for a stronger policing presence on the Metro in the evenings, saying some elderly passengers felt intimidated at night and there could be a need for officers to ride on the trains.
Speaking yesterday, as she chatted to passengers using the Metro at the Gateshead Interchange, she said: “I have found on some days that although no one is threatening, there is a group of young folk who were having a drink and a good time and acting the fool and it’s understandable how somebody would feel vulnerable.
“Some older people say they don’t like travelling on the Metro.
“I have agreed to meet with the director-general of Nexus to look at the issue. Nexus pay for some policing, but we may need to look at shift changes so there are more officers there on a night.”
She said that a lot more people drink at night, and though they may not intend to cause harm, some passengers may be intimidated.
She added: “If people knew there were bobbies on Metro when they were travelling home at night, they may feel less vulnerable.”
Yesterday Ms Baird took her police and crime plan consultation to passengers on the Metro.
When elected she said that she wanted to involve all communities information of her police and crime plan – which will direct the priorities of Northumbria Police for the next five years.
As part of the consultation process, Ms Baird will be visiting workplaces, sixth forms, shopping centres and undertaking walkabouts.
Nexus director-general Bernard Garner said: “We have a strong working relationship with the police, which means that crime levels on Metro remain low.
“The Police and Crime Commissioner’s visit is a great opportunity for her to speak to passengers about a whole range of policing issues in the local community.”
Ms Baird also hit out yesterday on Government plans to tackle anti-social behaviour, which would see the abolition of Anti-social Behaviour Orders (Asbos).
Commenting on the plans, Ms Baird said: “Over the years the courts have gained a lot of experience with Asbos.
“The courts understand Asbos well and by taking them away and bringing in something new you lose that experience.”
Anyone wishing to complete the consultation online can log on to www.surveymonkey.com/s/northumbria_pcc