Scotland

Booze crime reports on trains double

The number of alcohol-related crimes recorded on trains has almost doubled since ScotRail banned drinking at night.

In the 12 months since the ban was introduced, 240 alcohol-related crimes were recorded after 21:00.

That compared with 129 the previous year, according to British Transport Police (BTP).

ScotRail said the figures showed its "pro-active approach" to combating anti-social behaviour was working.

The operator enforces a ban on alcohol on all of its services between 21:00 and 10:00. It was introduced in response to concerns about anti-social behaviour on its trains.

'Small minority'

The firm's managing director Steve Montgomery said: "We expected to see a rise in arrests, and this is borne out in these figures.

"The pro-active approach adopted by ourselves, BTP, customers and staff is working.

"The message is clear. There will be repercussions for the small minority who flout the ban and behave in an anti-social manner due to excess alcohol.

"The vast majority of the travelling public support our efforts and don't want to be subjected to anti social behaviour. Our aim is to ensure that people can feel comfortable and at ease while travelling by rail."

Ch Supt Ellie Bird, BTP area commander for Scotland, said ScotRail's enhanced alcohol restriction policy, which was introduced in July of last year, was accompanied by a comprehensively revised training package for its staff, delivered by BTP officers, as well as an extremely effective awareness raising campaign.

He added: "These factors have resulted in the expected increase in the number of incidents being reported by the travelling public, and particularly by ScotRail staff, who are now more confident and informed about when and how they should alert BTP.

"With passenger numbers in excess of 83 million, BTP has delivered a further reduction in crime and offences on Scotland's rail network for the ninth consecutive year."

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