Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Working in partnership

From such findings, it is clear that no single measure can make the difference, and no solitary body or organization can be responsible for personal security throughout the length of an entire journey.
Creating safer traveling environments requires a commitment not just from the police and transport operators but also local authorities, town centre managers, local businesses and the public themselves. And whilst investment in services and facilities can deliver obvious improvements, it is important that they are just part of a broader strategy that also allows the sharing of information and development of community-wide schemes.
Emphasizing the partnership approach, the Department and local transport authorities are involved in a number of initiatives and advisory panels that aim to look at the problems of crime from a broad, longer-term viewpoint:
* Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships provide a basis for a unified approach for responsible authorities such as police, local authorities and other stakeholders, such as public transport operators, to tackle crime in their area. These partnerships undertake local audits of reported crimes to develop the appropriate strategies for dealing with issues specific to their area.
* The Secure Stations Scheme is a national accreditation that recognizes rail stations that have reached a required standard of passenger and staff security, which might involve lighting on the platforms, ticket halls and station car parks, provisions of help points and alarms, and effective staff communications. Launched in 1998, the scheme - managed jointly by the Government and British Transport Police - currently has over 300 stations accredited.
* The development of 'secure routes' whereby improvements to the physical and social environment - transport interchanges, taxi ranks, CCTV, pedestrian and walking facilities - help people feel more in control of their journey, are only possible through committed, long-term partnerships between local authorities, police and the local community. Traveling to School: an action plan, is an example where cycle paths, flexible bus services and improved street lighting and sight lines on pedestrian paths have helped to create safer routes from schools to local bus and train stations.
* Safer Travel on Buses and Coaches Panel (STOP) is looking at ways to combat assaults, anti-social behavior and vandalism on vehicles and property. The Panel brings together all those involved in dealing with the issue of safety and security. Its primary responsibility is to facilitate the exchange of ideas and the spread of good practice. For example, the Panel is looking to improve crime data collection and tackle problems around the behavior of school children.
Alongside these projects, lies the work that the relevant transport authorities undertake to ensure transport operators meet expected standards. The Department for Transport for instance issues guidance to operators on improving personal safety for both passengers and staff; as well as creating tighter licensing regulations - on minicab firms for example - to remove less than scrupulous services.

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