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Transport Safety Officers to support the city’s bus network

Published: Wednesday, 8th November 2023

Half a million pounds of government funding will allow for an investment in transport safety across Stoke-on-Trent to help stamp out anti-social behaviour.

Earlier this week it was announced that Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Staffordshire Police have been awarded £500,000 to invest in a new pilot scheme that will see six transport safety officers recruited to travel on the city’s bus network in a bid to keep travellers safe.

In a first for the city, the officers who will be based at Hanley and Longton bus stations will have enforcement powers. Permission is being sought from the Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police for devolved use of 11 Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS) powers and bye-laws, to assist the work of the officers serving the Stoke-on-Trent bus network. It is hoped they will have powers to issue fixed penalty notices, obtain personal details and proactively deal with nuisance behaviour that can significantly affect passenger’s journeys. Fines could be issued for behaviour such as smoking, littering and disorder.

Councillor David Williams, cabinet member for community safety and resilience said: said: “It is fantastic news that we have been awarded this funding. We hope this pilot scheme will reduce the overall incidents of ASB on and around the public transport network in Stoke-on-Trent and that it will provide general reassurance, particularly for more vulnerable members of society, including the elderly, young persons and women.

“Promoting the use of public transport across the city is a big priority for the administration. We want to improve the attractiveness, experience and expectations of using our public transport network.”

This is part of wider Government commitments to improving public transport and follows the recent allocation of £150m to improve bus services in the North and Midlands – the first tranche of £1bn of new funding, redirected from HS2 as part of Network North.

A spokesperson from Staffordshire Police said: “We will work the local authority, partners and transport companies to help tackle anti-social behaviour within our communities and around public transport hubs.

“Anti-social behaviour takes many forms and can significantly impact passengers, public transport services and those who live near them. Partnership opportunities like this only give us more tools at our disposal to deal with those responsible and take proactive steps to reduce anti-social behaviour in Staffordshire.”

The pilot will run from January 2024 through to March 2025 and the council will now begin to recruit and train the officers.