AN increased police and staff presence is helping to keep the calm on the Oldham and Rochdale Metrolink line as part of Operation Infinity.
Officers and staff from the TravelSafe Partnership are working alongside Oldham and Rochdale councils to address issues on the Metrolink following a spate of incidents.
In the last seven months, Greater Manchester Police has recorded 240 reported assaults on the Metrolink line, with 66 of these assaults on the Oldham and Rochdale line.
In addition there have been 75 incidents of criminal damage recorded on the Oldham and Rochdale line, including stones thrown at moving trams, damage to vehicles at Metrolink car parks and damage to ticket machines.
The initial operation ran for a week but will be bolstered by an additional three weeks of intensive activity to ensure commuters can travel safely during the summer period.
Supt Julie Ellison said: “We’ve seen a worrying number of incidents on the Oldham and Rochdale line in the last six months and it is completely unacceptable for our transport system to be abused in such a way that causes harm and misery to others.
“We know the public share our frustrations and rest assured we are doing all we can to address these issues and ensure the Metrolink is safe for commuters and those that work on it.
“We’ll also be working alongside Rochdale and Oldham councils to deliver long-term solutions, ensuring the transport network remains safe for all.”
Transport for Greater Manchester’s head of control and operations, Chris Thorpe, said: “Crime and anti-social behaviour carried out by a small minority causes significant disruption and impact to members of the public going about their regular journeys.
“It is really important every member of our community feels safe to travel without feeling intimidated or concerned by the behaviour of others and through working in partnership on operations such as this, we will continue to reinforce and maintain that.”
Cllr Sean Fielding, Leader of Oldham Council, said: “The levels of crime and anti-social behaviour on our Metrolink line are a concern and Oldham Council is fully behind this initiative.
“The safety of residents is of paramount importance to me and I want to build on the amazing partnership work happening in Oldham to keep people safe in their communities and on public transport.
“As someone who uses public transport every day I have witnessed such behaviour but I’ve also seen that the majority of people using it are responsible and treat it with respect.
“It’s time to let the selfish few know that we won’t let them ruin it for everyone.”