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Crime rising on trains as staff are cut, RMT warns

CRIME levels on Northern rail services are climbing because greedy operators are putting profits before passengers by shedding staff, rail union RMT said yesterday.

And the problem will worsen if the company succeeds in removing safety-critical guards from trains.

The report came as RMT staff at Northern prepared for their latest 24-hour stoppage over the guards issue today, and as drivers on London Underground’s Piccadilly Line remained “rock solid” yesterday on their third day of strike action over a “complete breakdown” in industrial relations.

RMT obtained new statistics from British Transport Police which reveal in the last year there were 7,611 offences, including 382 serious assaults, 809 common assaults, two firearm/explosive offences, 167 sexual crimes including 100 sexual offences against females, and 1,522 instances of theft of passenger property.

Violence against the person was up 19.38 per cent.

At 330 unstaffed stations on Northern routes, protection and assistance for passengers and the train driver at stations is currently provided by guards who are on all trains.

Northern is planning for at least 50 per cent of services to have no guards, with many lines and routes completely unstaffed.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “The rising crime on Northern revealed in the new statistics from the British Transport Police exposes the madness of removing the guard from the train.

“No guard on the trains, combined with the de-staffing of stations, is a toxic cocktail that gives the criminals a free hand on Britain’s violent railways.”

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