RMT has called for a halt to the staffing cuts on stations and platforms, including the removal of guards, as shocking new figures show that knife crime on Britain’s railways has more than tripled in the past three years.
According to the Press Association agency, British Transport Police recorded 1,059 offences involving a knife or bladed object in 2018, up from 338 in 2015. There were 417 in 2016 and 632 in 2017.
Possession of an offensive weapon increased more than five times from 24 in 2015 to 136 in 2018. There were 57 recorded instances in 2016, and 52 in 2017.
Figures for having an article with a blade or point in a public place rose from 103 in 2015, to 164 in 2016, 222 in 2017, and 387 in 2018.
The new figures come after the BTP revealed that violence on London Underground has increased by nearly 50% over a similar period.
What did the officials say?
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:
“No one can now seriously argue that there isn’t a rising tide of violence on Britain’s railways and these latest shocking BTP figures are borne out by our members day to day experiences at the sharp end of the transport network.
“These statistics reinforce a pattern of increasing abuse and violence on our trains and platforms and should serve as a wake up call to both the Government and a number of the train operators who are ignoring this brutal reality.
“Staff are the eyes and ears of the service , axing them in the drive towards an automated and faceless railway in the name of profit gives a green light to the thugs and criminals and it is grossly and dangerously irresponsible.
“The threat to our guards and our station staff should be lifted immediately.”