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Gangs are 'waiting to exploit' vulnerable runaways

Gangs are hanging out at train stations "waiting to exploit" vulnerable young children who may have fled a chaotic home life, an MP told Good Morning Britain.

Chair of the Transport Select Committee, Louise Ellman said: "They might have come off the trains, they might just gather at the station - but there are gangs waiting to exploit them."

Union calls for 'higher police profile' at train stations

A rise in violent and sexually related crime at train stations has lead to a call for a "higher police profile" from the rail workers union.

Commenting on a report on vulnerable children at railway stations, Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA rail union, said:

While we welcome the overall fall in railway crime, we are concerned about the worrying rise in serious crime, assault, up 6%, racially aggravated, up 13% and sexual offences, up 21%.

We would like to see a higher police profile at stations and on trains which would act both as a deterrent whilst also providing security and reassurance for the travelling public.

– Manuel Cortes


Number of vulnerable children found at train stations

According to a report from the Transport Select Committee, between April 2012 and 2013:

  • British Transport Police (BTP) had picked up 90 runaway children at Euston main line station.
  • A further 185 runaway children at King's Cross stations.
  • Some 115 at Paddington, 239 at Liverpool Street and 140 at Euston Underground station.
  • However, the report added: "The BTP told us that the problem is not confined to London and that its officers encounter vulnerable children and young people in major railway stations across Britain."

Better care needed for 'vulnerable children at railways'

More needs to be done to care for the hundreds of vulnerable children found at Britain's train stations every year, a group of MPs has said.

BTP has no targets when it comes to caring for vulnerable children found at railways. Credit: PA

The House of Commons Transport Committee said over 750 runaways had been picked up by British Transport Police (BTP) at London stations alone, in less than 18 months.

But the committee said it was "surprised to learn" that BTP currently had no targets in relation to child protection.

Entitled Security On The Railway, the report called for authorities and the charity sector to work closer together to protect vulnerable children.

The report said: "The Department for Transport (DfT), the British Transport Police Authority, the BTP and the charity sector should work together to tackle this emerging issue."

Thief steals £15k in cash from dozing train passenger

A train passenger had a bag containing £15,000 in cash stolen from him as he slept on a Virgin train from Liverpool to Runcorn.

British Transport Police is appealing for witnesses after a dozing passenger had £15,000 stolen Credit: Google Maps/BTP

British Transport Police (BTP) released a CCTV image of the man they would like to speak to in connection with the incident, which took place on March 1 at about 9am.

DC Dominic Wilcox said: “The man had planned to travel to Stafford to purchase a car – and was carrying the cash in a bag.

“The victim dozed off and as the train arrived at Runcorn, a man grabbed the bag from the seat next to the victim and quickly left the train.”

BTP appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

Trains 'surprisingly silent' warns transport police

Modern trains are "very fast" and "often surprisingly silent" warned the British Transport Police.

Chief Superintendent Miles Flood was speaking as part of a campaign to prevent people from crossing the tracks, after 41 people died trespassing on Britain's railways last year.

Billions of pounds have been invested to give us a fast, modern rail network. Trains are very fast and often surprisingly silent, particularly if you are not paying attention.

We spend thousands of police hours combating trespass to keep people safe and minimise disruption to the network. If this campaign can prevent one British Transport Police officer having to tell someone that their loved one has been killed or maimed, it will be worth it.

– Detective Chief Superintendent Miles Flood, British Transport Police
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