The start to the New Year has been a particularly exceptional one for British Transport Police, facing both a terrorist incident at Manchester Victoria station on New Year’s Eve and a tragic murder on board the Guildford to Waterloo service just days later.
It goes without saying that I am immensely proud of our response to these incidents. On New Year’s Eve four of our brave officers in Manchester were first on scene having heard screams for help on a platform at Manchester Victoria during a routine patrol. Undoubtedly, their brave and selfless actions that night prevented any more passengers or rail staff from being injured.
In relation to our murder enquiry, the suspect was identified following a complex and fast-moving investigation by our officers and was arrested within 16 hours of the incident. He has since been charged with murder and remanded into prison custody.
Importantly, both of these incidents are a relatively rare event for our officers. However, we know from speaking to staff and passengers at stations that these events, as well as a wider increase in violence across the country, have had an impact on how safe people feel when working or travelling on the railway.
This is why we are stepping up our patrols in areas where we know crime is likely to occur, with a clear focus on violence, knife crime and sexual assaults.
These events also serve as a timely reminder to remain vigilant and I would encourage anyone who sees something suspicious or unusual to report it to us, our officers are on hand 24/7 to help keep you safe.
-Assistant Chief Constable Robin Smith