Public encouraged to do their level best

British Transport Police (BTP) officers are urging the public to do their level best to stay safe when using crossings.

The call comes during Operation Look, a week of action which will see extra patrols at a number of crossings.

BTP recorded more than 3,500 offences at crossings during 2014/15, with more than 2,500 offenders identified and dealt with.

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While the majority of those offences are committed by motorists, BTP officers also want to make sure pedestrians are aware of the dangers too.

Inspector Becky Warren said: “We have seen a drop in the number of offences at crossings, but there are still far too many people risking their lives.

“We’ll be stepping up our activity during Operation Look to ensure we speak to as many people as possible about using crossings safely.

“There are crossings where people have just got into the habit of taking risks, and that has to stop.”

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Officers will hand out thousands of leaflets during the week. They will also be visiting schools and colleges, helping to promote Network Rail’s latest level crossing safety campaign, which is aimed at students and young people.

This timely campaign has been launched this week to coincide with the start of the academic year, when many young people find themselves in new towns and cities.

Many students will be unfamiliar with their new surroundings, and may have never lived in an area with level crossings. Over the coming weeks, Network Rail will be contacting colleges and universities, located close to level crossings, reminding students how to keep themselves safe. The campaign stresses the importance of not being distracted and staying alert at level crossings.

The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre group will support the campaign at crossings and in schools and colleges, performing a play about crossing safety as part of the week’s activities.

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Darren Cottrell, head of level crossing safety at Network Rail said: “Though Britain has one of the best level crossing safety records in the world, we are not complacent as still far too many near misses and incidents occur.

“Reminding people about the dangers of the railway and how to stay safe at level crossings is a vital part of our efforts to get everyone home safe, every day.”