Suspects identified in only half of crimes on Sheffield railways

Suspects are identified in only about half of all crimes committed on Sheffield's railways, figures have revealed.

By Lee Peace
Monday, 24 June, 2019, 18:00

There were nearly 250 crimes committed on the city's railways in 2018, including theft, violent acts and sexual offences.

Sheffield railway station

But suspects were only identified in around 50 per cent of the cases. And only a quarter of the incidents resulted in someone being charged or brought before the courts.

The data - revealed by British Transport Police following a Freedom of Information request – has led to calls for more to be done to track down criminals on the railways.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the rail union RMT, said: “These are shocking statistics which show that on far too many occasions a criminal act on the railways is a free ride for the perpetrator.

Sheffield railway station

“It’s a reflection of the under-resourcing of the BTP and the drive to axe train and platform staff.

“The solution is investment in staffing and security and a zero tolerance approach that brings to book all those who think they can turn the railway into a criminal’s playground.”

There were 248 reported crimes last year and no suspect was identified in 125 of the cases.

Just 63 suspects were charged/summons. 60 cases were recorded as 'other crime outcome'.

In addition, thieves got away with stealing from passengers 61 out of 71 times.

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There were 36 violent crimes committed but no suspect was identified in only five of these occasions.

Sexual offences were committed eight times and nobody was brought to justice on three of these occasions.

Assistant Chief Constable Robin Smith from British Transport Police, said crime on the railways remains “incredibly low”, with less than one journey in a million involving any kind of violence.

He said the force conducts “a great number of highly visible as well as plain clothes patrols to identify pickpockets, or those exploiting the crowded network to commit sexual offences”.

He said: “Fortunately, the majority of crimes reported to BTP result in no injury coming to a victim, such as theft, common assault or vandalism.

“Nevertheless, we understand these crimes are concerning for passengers, and I would like to reassure them that we are completely committed to reducing and preventing crime.”

Diana Fawcett, Chief Officer of the charity Victim Support (England and Wales), said: “People should feel safe going about their daily lives and confident that if they report a crime they will get the justice they deserve.

“In cases where a suspect is not identified it’s important that the reasons behind this are explained to the victim so they don’t just feel that their case has been dropped.

“This news has the potential to undermine public confidence in the criminal justice system and could deter people from coming forward to report a crime in the future.”