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Eight new transport safety officers (TSOs) are now out on patrol to prevent and tackle anti-social behaviour across the region’s bus network.

The specially trained officers are deployed to deal with low-level nuisance, disorder and anti-social behaviour, targeting routes and locations based on reports received from transport staff or the general public.

They have been added to the team of three TSOs who were appointed in 2021, and have the powers to issue fixed penalty fines for behaviour, such as smoking, littering, disorder, vandalism and throwing fireworks.

The new officers have been assigned to the West Midlands Safer Travel Partnership, a collaboration between Transport for the West Midlands (TfWM), West Midlands Police and the British Transport Police, and work alongside police officers.

Funding for the team has come from the £88 million Bus Service Improvement Plan Grant, awarded to TfWM, part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), by Government last year.

The Safer Travel Partnership stresses that according to the latest data, there were just 1.9 crimes reported for every 100,000 bus journeys in December 2022.

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, said: “I’m very pleased to see 8 new uniformed officers are now out and about, helping to prevent and tackle crime and anti-social behaviour on our buses.

“The overwhelming majority of journeys on public transport in our region pass without incident, but it’s important that we’re not complacent and that safety and security are our top priority.

“We need far more people to be travelling by bus and this investment is a positive step in the right direction.”

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA chair, said: “We were awarded the Bus Service Improvement Plan funding to take steps to make our bus services more attractive to passengers and build back our services to their pre-Covid level. We have already announced a fare freeze until 2025 to help people with their cost of living and have several more initiatives in the pipeline.

“We also know that antisocial behaviour can deter people from using the bus, so it is right that we use some of that investment to increase our Safer Travel team, make them more visible on our network to offer that added reassurance to passengers.

“It was great to meet the new officers and wish them well as they set out to keep our bus passengers safe and offer greater protection to the travelling public.”

The TSOs have been trained under the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS) and use a three Es approach of engage, educate and finally enforce, when dealing with antisocial behaviour.

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