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Police commissioner launches economic development plan with plea to ban thugs from buses and trains

Police commissioner launches economic development plan with plea to ban thugs from buses and trains

🕔22.Apr 2015

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson wants London-style banning orders to be issued against persistent criminals to keep them off the region’s trains, trams and buses, reports Paul Dale.

If he gets his way it would mean that for the first time transport authority Centro would be able to ban repeat offenders from its entire network.

Such a move would boost public confidence, make people more likely to use public transport and could result in 40 million more journeys a year in the West Midlands and a reduction in cars on the roads, according to the Commissioner.

At present, transport authorities have to go through a time-consuming and costly process applying for separate injunctions for each local authority, meaning that a criminal could, for example, be banned from using buses in Walsall but not in Birmingham.

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act gives only Transport for London the ability to use Criminal Behaviour Orders to ban people who persistently commit criminal acts on public transport.

Mr Jamieson said:

It makes no sense that these powers are not available to the authorities here in the West Midlands.  Frankly, if it’s good enough for London then it’s good enough for our region too.

He pointed out that research by the Department for Transport suggests 11.5 per cent more journeys would be made on public transport if passengers felt safer. In the West Midlands that would equal more than 40 million more journeys per year. Mr Jamieson said:

The public are quite right to expect that they should be able to travel on our buses, trams and trains without fear for their safety.

Giving the West Midlands the ability to apply for one CBO covering its entire network is a key tool that will make our transport even safer and encourage more people to use the service.

This is a no brainer, the West Midlands should have the same powers as Transport for London and I will be continuing to campaign on behalf of our community for safer public transport.

The call for banning orders is part of Mr Jamieson’s strategy to use the police to boost economic development by cutting business crime and making sure traffic on the motorway network can move more freely.

He’s promising special help for businesses affected by crime “to get them back on their feet” and is also appealing to employers to offer work to ex-offenders who are “excluded from the labour market”.

Mr Jamieson said the police should support business by keeping “the arteries of the economy flowing”. He said:

We must make sure that we deliver roads policing as effectively as possible. We must work to reduce the number of serious accidents and use tools such as digital road safety cameras to encourage better driving and automatic number plate recognition to target criminals.

A free-flowing road network plays a fundamental part in business development as road closures can cost business millions of pounds.

Mr Jamieson added:

I have made a commitment in my Police and Crime Plan that total business crime must fall. There are specific crimes that affect businesses, such as shoplifting or white collar crime, and our police force is committed to working closely with businesses and offering advice.  I want to listen to what business needs from policing and, where appropriate, let businesses know what policing needs too.

Reduced crime creates a climate in which businesses can open and flourish. Lower crime means reduced fear of crime, which not only builds business confidence and supports inward investment but also boosts public confidence.

Time could be running out for Mr Jamieson to deliver his crime-fighting pledges.

Only the Conservatives go into the General Election promising to retain Police and Crime Commissioners, saying that they will “develop the role”.

Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party are promising to get rid of PCCs and place responsibility for policing in the hands of local government. UKIP says it would reduce the number of PCCs.

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