Johnson: Pickpockets and badly behaved will not be tolerated on our buses 20th February 2009: It has been revealed that more than 1,000 arrests were made as the result of an operation that used high visibility patrols to combat anti-social behaviour and pickpocketing on London’s buses.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “This sort of operation has two clear goals. Firstly it makes it exceedingly plain to the pickpockets and badly behaved that they will not be tolerated on our buses. And secondly these patrols provide an important reassurance for the millions of law abiding passengers who should not have to suffer from the mindless behaviour of the few.”
The first phase of Operation Ridgeway carried out by the Metropolitan Police Service’s Transport Operational Command Unit (TOCU) and funded by Transport for London, combated anti-social behaviour during the Halloween and Bonfire Night period. Up to two hundred officers were involved and made around 500 arrests. The second phase of the operation took place in the run up to Christmas and resulted in more than 600 arrests.
During both phases of the Operation extra high visibility patrols were carried out on and around the Capital’s bus network. This provided reassurance to the public and helped reduce the traditional rise in anti-social behaviour during Halloween and Bonfire Night, whilst tackling opportunist pickpockets in the run up to Christmas. In addition TfL staff, with support from police officers, ran a series of random fare checks on buses, which also helps deter criminal and anti-social behaviour on and around the network.
TOCU Reassurance Teams also distributed anti-theft chains to bus passengers. These chains are attached to a purse or handbag so that pickpockets cannot snatch them without alerting the owner. The initiative has received positive feedback from members of the public, especially elderly passengers who described them as a ‘fantastic idea – especially in the Christmas shopping season’.
Chief Superintendent Joe Royle, Transport Operational Command Unit, said: “The Transport Operational Command Unit continues to work together with Transport for London to help keep London moving safely on a daily basis.
"Operation Ridgeway One and Two proved to be extremely successful, as demonstrated by feedback received from members of the public who were positive about the policing presence, and by the excellent arrest figures.
“The additional high visibility patrols carried out provided reassurance to the public during the Autumn and Christmas period when crime peaks can traditionally occur.”
Steve Burton, Transport for London’s Director of Community Safety, Enforcement and Policing, said: "Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas are fun times for most of us but a small minority who indulge in antisocial behaviour and crime on and around the Capital’s buses can ruin it for everyone else.
“That is why we support the TOCU teams in Operation Ridgeway which has been really successful in tackling crime and antisocial behaviour in the run up to Christmas.”