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Your views called for on crime and anti-social behaviour on London buses
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Ooperlooper


Posts: 104
Joined: Jun 2006
Post: #1
22-10-2007 07:25 PM

The following is quoted from:
http://www.london.gov.uk/assembly/scruti...safety.jsp

Quote:
The London Assembly's Transport Committee is investigating crime and anti-social behaviour on the capital?s bus network. The investigation will focus on:

The measures put in place by Transport for London (TfL) to deal with crime and anti-social behaviour on buses and the extent to which they help passengers feel safe.
Investigating what mix of measures ? relating to staffing and technology ? would improve the travelling environment.
Crime and disorder on the capital?s buses has recently become a high profile issue, but it is a complex subject. By focussing on perceptions of safety and understanding what makes people feel safe, using available data and through wider consultation, the Transport Committee hopes to make recommendations to TfL and the Metropolitan Police Service that will improve Londoners? bus journeys.

Your views
The Committee would like to hear from Londoners so we can identify how to make things better. Please contact us with your views on the following:

What makes you feel safe, or would make you feel safe, when travelling on buses?
Do you think TfL have the right mix of measures (in terms of staffing and technology such as CCTV) on the bus network to reduce anti-social behaviour and create a pleasant travelling environment?
What more do you think could be done to improve safety?
Please send your views to:

Bonnie Jones
PP10, London Assembly
City Hall
The Queen's Walk
London SE1 2AA

or email: bussafety@london.gov.uk


Well my vote would go for having a few dozen plain clothes police riding around the buses all day.

You'd only have to see first hand, or hear about second hand, someone being caught by one of them for this to have a significant deterent effect, I'd have thought.

CCTV is good for deterring crimes serious enough for people to report (and for the police to take seriously) but at the moment there's no deterrent against more minor acts of anti-social behaviour such as rudeness, threats, playing music too loud, graffiti/vandalism, littering, etc, but these are the things that we experience daily and make travelling by public transport much less pleasant than it should be.

I'd like to hear what others think. Your ideas?...

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roz


Posts: 1,793
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #2
22-10-2007 10:02 PM

I have an original idea. Bring back bus conductors on buses.

CCTV does diddley squat towards making me feel safe as even if there tends not to be in working order, as do police officers, uniformed or not. They are usually looking in the opposite direction when a crime is being committed under their very noses.
However CCTV would be marginally useful at bus stops- better than nothing.

I was injured on a bus some months ago when the driver deliberately shut the door on me, hitting my pregnant stomach as I stood waiting to pay. He accused me of holding up the bus yet how could I go and sit down without a ticket. Thankfully the only damage was slight external bruising and the baby was fine. It took weeks to get through the various bureaucratic obstacles to make a complaint, and the cctv wasnt working. At least thats what the bus company said. So nothing could be progressed.

Forget the technology, go for the staffing.

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Ooperlooper


Posts: 104
Joined: Jun 2006
Post: #3
22-10-2007 10:39 PM

Well firstly, congratulations!

Secondly, I agree that CCTV is not very useful except for deterring the most serious crimes, but who'd want to be a bus conductor in charge of tackling anti-social behaviour? You'd have to have a death wish.

I think it has to be plain clothes police, working in pairs, and enough of them so that people feel there's a reasonable chance of being caught.

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Scorpion


Posts: 121
Joined: Nov 2005
Post: #4
23-10-2007 07:58 PM

Firstly - away from this threads main issue - I had a similar experience to Roz, but when exiting the bus, a few years ago, toddler in hand (walking) when the bus driver could not wait less than a minute to let us get off safely, and shut the doors on my (pregnant) stomach & self. Luckily I had hand-guided my toddler son ahead of me, down the step, and he was not hurt. My stomach (and contained baby) were also ok after, but this is a definite problem among SOME of the bus driving force - lack of passenger care, respect and always in a hurry (except, I suspect, when on a break) I wish they were trained better.


Now to the safety issue.
Although not major, maybe, to some, I, personally, hate the noise, intimidation and general dis-regard of other passengers, by school kids and feel it would be best to have School Buses, for ALL schools ie no large mobs of school children on normal buses/trains/tubes between school turning out time for about an hour or so. (also, more emphasis on walking! - for those who go to school in local area - i used to have to walk 20 mins or so to my secondary school - there and back (not a lot, but believe me, that would be considered a lot, by many of todays kids!) - I was NOT dropped off and collected, like many of the spoiled brats these days!)
Some school "children" can be pure evil!
(although I was not the most perfect child, when at school, I never would have acted as bad as most of the ones I witness on the buses. I had some respect for others around me, but sadly, these years, its not the norm)

I agree, bringing back conducters will not serve much purpose, as users (read, abusers) of the transport system/people, will treat them with the same contempt they do, the drivers and decent public transport users.
Yes, undercover cops (or the like) would be good, but surely, in terms of money, a camera, two or three, on each bus/tube/train, would be better and probably cost less, in the long run and be more successful? Also,they would provide invaluable (& possibly solid) proof, in the case of evidence, needed for court cases? After all, surely, with the cost of fares as they are, in London (and other cities) its not beyond the realms of possibilty for them to be afforded?

Anyway, just my tuppence-worth.

Sue

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Sherwood


Posts: 1,355
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #5
23-10-2007 08:50 PM

Always keep something solid against the door as you get off. If your coat gets trapped in the door, you can be dragged along when the bus drives off.

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Ooperlooper


Posts: 104
Joined: Jun 2006
Post: #6
23-10-2007 09:09 PM

While I deplore the actions of the drivers who shut those doors on you both, I reckon drivers do a pretty good job on the whole.

It seems to me that they have to tolerate a huge amount of rudeness, abuse, intimidation and general unpleasantness from passengers, and I'm surprised they don't flip out more often than they do.

According to the posters on the buses, 4 out of 5 buses now have CCTV, but this does nothing to prevent anti-social behaviour. I suspect that most people believe it's simply not worth the bother of reporting it as nothing would come of it.

I think it's an interesting point that people these days apparently behave in ways that they wouldn't have a few decades ago (or in other parts of the country, or in other countries, for that matter). So this begs the question of what is different about today's society?

I was recently in Barcelona, a city of three million people, and on a Friday night on the Las Ramblas (a popular street for a stroll and a drink in a cafe, roughly equivalent to the Champs Elysee or Covent Garden) there was no anti-social behaviour, no excessive drunkeness, and people of all ages, not just youngsters, could be seen in equal numbers, enjoying themselves.

Just what is the difference that makes our society so...broken (I can't think of a more suitable word)?

If you ask me, I think it's that over the last few decades, politicians have persued policies designed to help the economy by making the workforce more mobile and flexible, but this has had the side effect of many people living, working and learning in the same place for shorter and shorter periods, resulting in people not building up the kind of extensive personal networks amongst people in the local area that we used to have.

Today we don't live near our extended families; we don't know our neighbours, we simply don't know many of the people we live among, and the effects of this are that we don't care much about them, don't expect to get caught nor ostracised if we do something wrong, and can't see much point in working together to look after the area we live in and improve it for the future.

This seems to me to be the key difference between the UK today and both the UK of the past and other countries today.

So I guess the answer (if you want to address the root of the problem, not just tackle it with more policing) is to make people start to care again about their community through policies that incentivise people to stick around longer in one place, especially the area where they grew up.

Does anyone share this view or have any other theories? I'd be very interested to know.

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roz


Posts: 1,793
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #7
24-10-2007 10:48 AM

These are good points but deserve to be on a thread of their own as its going a bit off topic.

The point about not knowing your neighbour always strikes a chord with me. Before I moved to London everyone said this of this city. Nothing was further from the truth. When I moved into a house of bedsits , my first home in London, I was greeted with offers of help, tea, and friendship and I gave the same in return. And when we moved into our house 8 years ago the neighbours knocked on the door to say hello. They invite us round and we return the invitations. We take in each others parcels and look after each others pets. We look out for each other. Yet this is not a middle class enclave ; we have people from a wide range of backgrounds , ages, and occupations living in our street. However what is apparent is than none of us are native Londoners, and a minority are English, but the English are mostly northerners, used to a different culture of neighbourliness.
It really just takes a bit of effort to knock on peoples door to introduce yourselves. Be a good neighbour and you will reap the rewards.
The problem of not knowing your community and being disconnected from your extended family seems to be the preserve of the ' White English' ethnic group to be honest, although I'll probably get rapped for such generalisation. Other cultures genuinely seem to have much happier and richer family and social networks and ability to make contacts.

Therefore we do not need policies, just some defrosting of the standard English reserve.....

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hilltopgeneral


Posts: 156
Joined: Mar 2004
Post: #8
24-10-2007 11:18 AM

Ooperlooper Wrote:
I was recently in Barcelona, a city of three million people, and on a Friday night on the Las Ramblas (a popular street for a stroll and a drink in a cafe, roughly equivalent to the Champs Elysee or Covent Garden) there was no anti-social behaviour, no excessive drunkeness, and people of all ages, not just youngsters, could be seen in equal numbers, enjoying themselves.

Just what is the difference that makes our society so...broken (I can't think of a more suitable word)?


Presumably you missed the army of pickpockets, as they try to be discrete. Presumably you didn't make much of a detour off Las Ramblas into the adjoining barrios, so missed the child prostitutes, the pimps, the dealers and the junkies.

Not sure Barcelona is the best example to select.

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Johnc


Posts: 138
Joined: Jan 2007
Post: #9
24-10-2007 12:16 PM

Afraid I have to concur with Hilltop on this one. Barcelona is a great city to visit, but it is one of only 2 places on the planet where I have been pickpocketed.

On the general subject of antisocial behaviour on buses, a lot depends on what you consider anti-social behaviour. Is overload headphones, annoying ringtones, screaming and shouting, or the more mundane such sitting on the outside seat and being shocked at being asked to allow someone to sit down on the inside.

I travel on buses all the time, adn what I do is to try and get a few little victories of my own. For example, if i'm sitting on the inside and ask the person on the outside to excuse me. If they just remain seated and slovenly swing their legs out of the way in the expectation of me squeezing past, I always do so but somehow manage to knock into them, preferably with my rucksack. I always apologise with a smile which makes the victory that much sweeter. I suspect i'm rather sad. The worse thing to do is confrontation.

Also it needs to be remembered that the concept of a teenagers in society are a reasonably recent invention. My parents were only 14 when they started work in the 40's and so did the majority of their generation. Kids were to busy working to have the time on their hands to cause trouble

I blame the teddy boys

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Johnc


Posts: 138
Joined: Jan 2007
Post: #10
24-10-2007 12:25 PM

Sorry about the spelling/grammar in the above i'm doing this during a very dull conference call

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millesens


Posts: 65
Joined: Apr 2006
Post: #11
24-10-2007 01:55 PM

Maybe I was very unlucky but the only few times I decided to take a bus in this area of London I regretted it. The bus drivers looked young and were very rude, most worryingly they wore hoods, despite the warm temperatures on one occasion. I remember very clearly their aggressive driving and sudden breaking, a few people lost their balance but no apologies were given. Another time a driver refused to stop to take on board a lady with a baby in a pushchair. Strangely the bus was almost empty; on the same occasion the driver stopped the bus and started shouting abuse at another driver.

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roz


Posts: 1,793
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #12
24-10-2007 05:48 PM

Millesens, you weren't referring to the P4 on Wednesday two weeks ago, on Honor Oak Road were you? The person with the pushchair may have been me, as the driver of the practically empty bus refused to stop. There also tend to be a lot of bad drivers on the P4 which because of its internal design tends to result in people being thrown about a bit.

Today more being trapped in the door , this time the driver of the 122 closed the doors on the pram as we were exiting and started moving off - this was very scary.

Given recent bad luck on buses think I'll just set off earlier and walk everywhere- one way to get fitter. Unfortunately most problems and antisocial behaviour I have personally experienced tended to come from the bus drivers not the public.

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millesens


Posts: 65
Joined: Apr 2006
Post: #13
24-10-2007 07:29 PM

Gosh, your experience is even more worrying than mine, Roz. No I haven't used a bus in a long time. I really avoid it now. If I have time I walk everywhere. For work I take the train or the underground or very rarely the car.

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Johnc


Posts: 138
Joined: Jan 2007
Post: #14
25-10-2007 08:12 AM
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Ooperlooper


Posts: 104
Joined: Jun 2006
Post: #15
03-11-2007 08:03 PM

Seven million bus journeys per day, huh? So if they put the price of a day ticket up by just 10p, that'd be ?700,000/day (?255.5 million a year) to pay for policing the buses. Am I missing something or isn't that a no brainer?

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Sherwood


Posts: 1,355
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #16
03-11-2007 08:43 PM

They get free policing on the buses by giving police officers free travel.

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