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British Transport Police

‘Rail Safety Olympics’ teach children how to stay safe

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Transport for Wales, Network Rail and the British Transport Police have teamed up for Rail Safety Week, visiting schools in repeat locations for trespass to teach children about how to stay safe on the railway.

Year 6 pupils in schools in Mountain Ash, Rhyl, Newport, Llandeilo and Bridgend took part in a talk with uniformed police community support officers, as well as activities led by Network Rail and Transport for Wales.

The organisations visited five schools, Our Lady’s School in Mountain Ash, Christchurch Primary School in Rhyl, Oldcastle Primary School in Bridgend, Waunfawr Primary School in Crosskeys and Llandeilo Primary School, Llandeilo, over the two-week period and delivered activities with more than 315 pupils.

There were 13,215 railway trespass incidents reported across the UK in 2019/20. Trespass is a major issue across the rail network and people put themselves in serious risk of danger when they access rail property illegally. Furthermore, trespass is a significant contributor to delays on the train service.

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Emily Coughlin, Community Safety Manager at Network Rail, Wales and Western, said: “Railway trespass has always been a serious safety concern, however since lockdown began more and more people are finding themselves in new places which has led to a rise in incidents.

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“We hope that by educating children about railway safety before they start secondary school, they will make more informed decisions as they become more independent. The Rail Safety Olympics have been designed to drive home these important safety messages in a fun and engaging way that the children will remember.”

Transport for Wales, Network Rail and the British Transport Police are encouraging other primary schools to volunteer for the sessions, so that they can deliver more sessions with schools and teach more pupils how to stay safe on the railway.

Interested schools can get in touch at engagement@tfw.wales


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British Transport Police

British Transport Police calls on bystanders to report sexual harassment on the railway

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British Transport Police (BTP) is encouraging the public to do their bit in helping us make the railway a hostile environment for sexual harassment, as reports continue to rise.

A new campaign launched today (Monday 4 July) – called ‘Speak Up, Interrupt’ – aims to empower bystanders and witnesses of all forms of inappropriate sexual behaviour on the network to report incidents or safely intervene where they can, while we continue to boost specialist patrols and target hotspot locations.

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Reports of sexual harassment and sexual offences to BTP have risen by 175% since before the pandemic (2019/20 compared to 2021/22). The force say this tells us that more people are aware that this behaviour isn’t acceptable, and that they are becoming more confident in reporting it to police – which is a step in the right direction, however there’s more to be done.

BTP say that they’re now calling on the public to help. Whether that’s by alerting police or taking simple and non-confrontational steps to interrupt or diffuse a situation if you see behaviour such as leering, catcalling, touching, pressing, upskirting, or indecent exposure.

This could involve speaking to police or rail staff; Giving the victim a way out of the situation by offering your seat; Interrupting the situation by striking up an unrelated conversation or standing between the perpetrator and the victim; Supporting the victim by asking them if they are ok; Or, if it is safe to so, speaking calmly to the person causing the issue.

Reports can be made by texting 61016 or via BTP’s new app ‘Railway Guardian’ now available to download on the Apple and Google Play store. The app also contains guides and advice on what information to report and examples of how to be an active bystander. In an emergency, you should always call 999.

BTP Sexual Offences Lead, Detective Superintendent Sarah White, said: “We must shift the focus away from just relying on victims to report sexual harassment to us, because everyone has a part to play in driving out this unacceptable behaviour.

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“We’re not asking people to police the railway, that’s our job. But small actions such as offering someone your seat if you notice them looking uncomfortable, alerting an officer, or reporting an incident to us can make an enormous difference.

“Your reports provide us with crucial information which helps us build a picture of what’s happening on the network so we can identify crime hotspots, deploy patrols to catch offenders, and crucially bring them to justice.

“As always, our officers are out across the network day and night looking out for you. Download our new Railway Guardian app for more information.”

The campaign has been developed in conjunction with rail industry partners, based on research from charities, campaign groups, and bystander behaviour experts.

(Lead image: British Transport Police)

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Police want to speak with this man after a teenage girl was sexually assaulted on train to Llanelli

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British Transport Police have released a photo of a man they want to speak with after a teenage girl was reportedly sexually assaulted in a “prolonged” attack.

The attack took place on a Heart of Wales line train between Llandovery and Llanelli.

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A spokesperson from British Transport Police said: “At 4.40pm on Saturday 26 March, a teenage girl boarded the train and sat opposite a man on a table seat. The man then proceeded to sexually assault her.

“Officers believe the man in the image may have information which could help their investigation.

“If you recognise him, or have any information, please contact BTP by texting 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 538 of 26/03/22.

“Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

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Over two years in jail for man who shut down the South Wales mainline and caused £50K worth of disruption

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A man who significantly damaged railway equipment at Bridgend, causing the South Wales mainline to shut down, has been jailed following a British Transport Police investigation.

Stephen Mulcahy, 42, and of Erw Hir, Bridgend, was found guilty of two counts of burglary, damage to property, and going equipped for theft. He was sentenced to 27 months in prison at Swansea Crown Court on 11 March.

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The court heard how at just after midnight on Friday 16 April 2021, Mulcahy arrived at Bridgend railway station with his dog and called the railway switchboard to enquire about train times.

A little while later, CCTV shows Mulcahy jumping from the platform onto the tracks with his dog and walking towards a railway compound.

At around 5am, Network Rail reported a power outage on the railway and suspicions grew as workers noticed a key was missing and a door to the generator building was left open.

Officers arrived on scene and found a rucksack on the platform containing rubber gloves and a set of bolt croppers.

Upon searching the compound, officers caught Mulcahy coming out of a building carrying metal signs. He claimed he was in the building looking for his dog, who had come off the lead, and asked officers if he could keep the signs which he had found.

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He was arrested, and upon search, officers found a pair of scissors and set of keys for the generator building in his pocket.

Significant damage had been caused in the building, including several cables pulled from their termination points, which triggered the loss of power to the railway signalling.

The damage to railway equipment affected 33 trains, delayed the network for a total of 1,209 minutes and cost the railway £53,561 in disruption. Over £5,000 in damage repairs was also caused to the compound.

The history of the power supply indicated the damage to the cabling occurred at approximately 4am and CCTV and forensics placed Mulcahy at the scene.

Sign stolen by Mulcahy (Image: BTP)
Bolt cutters Mulcahy had been carrying (Image: BTP)
Damage caused to the cabling system (Image: BTP)

BTP Detective Constable Dan Murdoch said: “This was a determined act which cost the railway thousands of pounds and caused significant disruption to passengers, including to key workers who may have relied on public transport in the middle of the pandemic.

“These sentences demonstrate just how seriously the courts take such incidents, and we hope this will give Mulcahy time to reflect on his actions and stop him from committing similar offences in the future.

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“We are committed to tackling all forms of criminal damage and work closely with Network Rail and other industry partners to make the railway a difficult place for these criminals to operate.”

Bill Kelly, Wales & Borders route director at Network Rail said: “This was a mindless and incomprehensible act of vandalism that had very serious consequences for the railway in South Wales and beyond – affecting our passengers and freight customers and wasting thousands of pounds of taxpayer’s money.

“The sentence handed down sends a powerful signal: these crimes won’t go unpunished, and I’d like to pay tribute to the Network Rail colleagues involved and the British Transport Police. This conviction demonstrates the strength of our partnership across Wales and Borders as we work together to stamp out crime on the rail network.”

(Lead image: South Wales Police)

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