As the countdown to Christmas enters its final week, extra police will be patrolling the public transport network as millions of shoppers pour into Birmingham for the city’s famous German market.
High-visibility patrols on the city’s bus, tram and train network under Operation Snow will look to build upon the success of last year’s operation.
This saw 46 fewer victims of crime and a 12 per cent drop in offences compared to the previous year.
Last year more than 5.5 million people visited the market and the annual policing operation, which runs for six weeks, aims to help shoppers and revellers experience everything Birmingham has to offer, in a safe and trouble-free environment.
Officers from British Transport Police and West Midlands Police from the Safer Travel Partnership will be patrolling city centre services and stations at peak times, nipping any anti-social behaviour in the bud and deterring criminality.
Inspector Rachel Crump, policing lead for the Safer Travel Partnership, said: “This is a fantastic event for Birmingham and we were delighted with the results of last year’s operation, which shows our approach to protecting passengers is working.
“Our job is to make sure people can travel to and from the markets safely on public transport and the co-operation of the travelling public is vital during this busy period.
“With that in mind, as we get ready to welcome millions of visitors to Birmingham, we’d like to remind people to keep an eye on their belongings, not to drink too much and to make sure they plan their journeys home so we can make it a safe and peaceful Christmas for all.”
Cllr Kath Hartley, lead member for Transport for West Midlands’ Putting Passengers First committee, said: “The hard work of the Safer Travel Partnership and the police team ensures that a very busy time of year on the public transport network passes off safely.
“Their efforts ensure that public transport in the West Midlands is a safe and crime-free way of getting out and about.”
Peter Coates, managing director of National Express West Midlands, said: “The Safer Travel Partnership’s Operation Snow was a great success last year and I am very pleased to see it back again.
“Over eight thousand more passengers have caught the bus into Birmingham city centre since the Christmas market opened – it seems people are making the wise decision to enjoy themselves and let us be their designated driver.”
Transport for West Midlands, West Midlands Police, British Transport Police and transport operators make up the Safer Travel Partnership, which exists to make public transport in the West Midlands even safer.
The partnership, the first of its type in the country, has access to more than 1,000 CCTV cameras located at bus, rail and Metro stations, park and ride sites, bus routes and in bus shelters, as well as a 24-hour dedicated control centre to spot and respond to incidents on the public transport network.