Report by Jonny Blair
Police and the Tyne and Wear Metro have said they are improving security on some parts of the line following a rise in anti-social behaviour reports on North Tyneside.
Over the past four weeks, Metro operators Nexus have recorded 130 anti-social behaviour incidents. Fifty-nine of these took place on North Tyneside, 11 of which were at Tynemouth.
Such reports include two 16-year-olds suffering facial and head injuries in separate alleged assaults at Tynemouth and Palmersville metro stations on Saturday 2 April.
This was confirmed by Northumbria Police, who also told ITV News Tyne Tees six female teenagers were removed from Tynemouth station after a carriage window had been smashed on Monday 11 April.
Residents have also reported being intimidated. Some have stopped allowing their children to ride the Metro.
The owner of a Whitley Bay Metro Station bar said the situation has got "out of hand" while one resident said "the whole area is up in arms". On Facebook groups, locals have criticised the authorities for not doing enough.
Nexus say they are "doing more than ever" to combat the problem and insist the Metro "is a safe place to travel". Over the Easter weekend, they have put 'fixed security teams' in place at Tynemouth and neighbouring stations to work alongside "record levels" of existing staff.
Huw Lewis, Customer Services Director
"We face the same problem seen across communities since we emerged from the lockdowns – groups of young people gathering in the evening some of whom behave unpleasantly and cause trouble," Mr Lewis said.
"This is a national problem which needs community solutions, funded by the Government, alongside the security actions we are taking as a train operator."
As part of the Northumbria Police's response to the rise, there was a strong presence at Tynemouth Metro Station on Thursday (14 April) evening. Groups of youths were broken up and turned away.
"We know that typically as the weather improves, we see more people out and about which coincides with us receiving more reports of anti-social behaviour," a Northumbria Police spokesperson said.
"In Tynemouth we have the well-established and successful Operation Coastwatch – an initiative helping keep our beaches and the transport networks which connect them free from trouble.
"It is an annual operation that focusses on the Easter holidays and summer months. Activity includes extra patrols, preventative work at Metro stations to disrupt and stop any disorder before it reaches the communities, and working with beach wardens who will monitor coastal activity," the statement continued.
"We are aware of concerns at Tynemouth Metro Station and continue to work closely with our partners Nexus to address reports of anti-social behaviour.
"An increased police presence is already in place at the station and this will continue throughout the Easter period and beyond."