A CHRISTMAS crackdown on rowdy and drunken behaviour on the railway system has been organised by British Transport Police in West Yorkshire.
Senior officers have warned that officers will not hesitate to take action again anyone acting in an anti-social manner.
Rail staff and passengers are being told to expect an increase in high-profile British Transport Police patrols on trains and at stations across West Yorkshire to help make sure revellers get to their celebrations – and home – safely.
Transport Police officers are joining forces with rail industry colleagues to urge those using trains and stations over the festive period to enjoy themselves but also to make sure they stay safe.
A number of special operations will be running at stations throughout West Yorkshire in the run up to Christmas and into the New Year.
Increased numbers of officers will also be patrolling trains throughout the area to ensure passengers and rail staff feel safe.
British Transport Police Sergeant Mark Mowvley said: “We understand that at this time of year, with Christmas fast approaching, people will be out at parties and will be consuming alcohol.
“We certainly do not want to spoil this and would simply ask that anyone drinking alcohol does so responsibly. We want everyone to have an enjoyable time over Christmas and will be working with all our partners to make sure everyone can get to their office party or other event, and home again safely and equally as importantly, without hindrance from others.”
In light of this, BTP officers will be taking part in Operation Garland - a special programme of operations throughout West Yorkshire designed to keep passengers and rail staff safe.
Sgt Mowvley warned that officers would not hesitate to take action against anyone acting in a criminal or anti-social manner.
“Traditionally we see an increase of people using trains and stations at this time of year,” he said.
“Please enjoy yourself, but it is important that you remember to behave appropriately. There are many people who may not use the rail network as a mode of transport other than at this time of the year. So make sure you have your travel arrangements in place and particularly know the time of your last train home. Also, look out for your friends and colleagues during the evening.”
Neighbourhood Policing Teams will be also be conducting high-visibility patrols and there will be an additional police presence at mainline stations, he added.
“The extensive use of CCTV across the rail network will once again be utilised to help police manage incidents.
“While we want everyone to enjoy themselves, we will not tolerate anti-social behaviour or any form of aggression towards the rail staff who work hard to keep the services running.
“It would also be remiss not to remind people that the cold weather brings its own challenges and you should ensure you are prepared for the conditions and dress appropriately.
“There is no doubt that alcohol is a major contributory factor to other types of crime, particularly violence. Drink can also make you a target. If you have consumed excessive amounts of alcohol your awareness is diminished, as is your ability to properly gauge a situation.
“Sadly there are those who will take advantage of people in this state and will not think twice about using someone else’s drunkenness to their benefit.”
Anyone who witnesses or is subjected to anti-social behaviour can call British Transport Police on Freefone 0800 40 50 40 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Sgt Mowvley urged people to plan their return journey before starting to drink, to stay awake while travelling, travel with a friend if possible and to “keep an even temper”.
Travellers are also urged to be aware of pickpockets.