Police step up officers on public transport over smartphone robberies

Newham police have launched a new crime initiative with Transport for London to combat smartphone robberies on public transport.

The operation involves increasing the number of high visibilty and plain clothes intelligence-led officers on buses and trains while utilising the network’s CCTV cameras, now installed on every London bus, to identify robbers.

Chief Superintendent of the Safer Transport Command Sultan Taylor said: “Crime on the transport network is low, however robbery still can take place in any public space, especially after the Christmas period when people may have received presents such as smartphones which are attractive items to criminals.

“My advice is to be vigilant and aware of your surroundings at all times - just pause and think for a moment about where you are using your smartphone.”

Police say that crime on buses is at a seven year low with under 11 crimes per million passenger journeys but increased number are needed to deal with congested routes in Newham which are some of the busiest in London.

Chf Supt Taylor added: “This operation is about providing effective tactics to prevent, deter and disrupt this type of crime and make it even more difficult for thieves to operate on the transport network.

“As part of our total policing approach, we will use lawful tactics to bring offenders to justice so our message is clear: if you commit crime on the transport network, we will identify you and arrest you.”

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The MPS Safer Transport Command recommend travellers stay alert to their surroundings; record their smartphone IMEI number; use phones in safe situations; keep possessions nearby, fully zipped and out of sight; and report crime and suspicious behaviour to the police.

Steve Burton, director of TfL’s community, safety enforcement and policing, said: “Through working closely with the Metropolitan Police on operations like these we will ensure that the bus netowrk remains a safe and low crime environment for our customers.”