Parents are being urged to speak to their children – and to keep tabs on their whereabouts – after a spate of attacks on public transport in Greater Manchester.
The region’s TravelSafe Partnership (TSP) has asked parents to make sure they know where their children are, and what they are doing, over the Easter school holidays and beyond.
The request follows a string of incidents where rocks, bricks, stones and other objects have been thrown at public transport.
Recent attacks have targeted buses, trams and trains, leading to injury and serious delays.
One recent incident saw a train driver left with facial injuries when a brick broke through his cab window in the Clifton area.
Figures show that buses across Greater Manchester have reported more than 300 incidents of missiles being thrown over the past 12 months, while objects were thrown at Metrolink trams nearly 145 times.
TSP officers want young people to be made aware of the risks and consequences of throwing objects at public transport, both to drivers, passengers, and themselves.
Police and transport operators are also warning against people ‘surfing’ buses or trams after a child injured themselves falling off a bus.
Kate Green, TfGM’s TravelSafe partnership manager, said: “These types of incidents are absolutely unacceptable, and we will make every effort to track down and prosecute anyone foolish enough throw objects at public transport.
“The consequences of this type of unthinking behaviour can be extremely serious for transport staff and passengers.
“Parents and young people should also be aware that the consequences for offenders can also be very serious, and a moment of madness or showing off could result in them being banned from the network or potentially prosecuted.
“But offenders can also put themselves in danger, as we saw recently when a child was knocked unconscious while bus surfing. The outcome could have been a lot worse, so we really have to ask – is it worth it the risk?”
Incidents in the last month have included stones thrown at three vehicles along the Leigh Guided Busway (a 21-year-old man has been charged with criminal damage), a projectile thrown at a Stagecoach bus near the Etihad (two passengers were left with minor injuries), and a log thrown into the path of an oncoming train in Bolton (it caused a fire and 100 people were evacuated).
Ian Birch, the aforementioned train driver who was left with injuries from a brick thrown through his cab window, said: “I want the people who did this to see the impact of their actions. I could have been blinded or even killed.”
All of these incidents are currently being investigated by the TravelSafe Partnership (TSP) – which is made up of Greater Manchester Police (GMP), British Transport Police (BTP), Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and transport operators.
Bev Hughes, Greater Manchester deputy mayor for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire, said: “This reckless behaviour is endangering the safety of passengers, drivers, and the offenders themselves, and it could also deter people from using our trains, trams and buses.
“Everyone using public transport is entitled to a safe and enjoyable journey – incidents of crime and antisocial behaviour on the network will not be tolerated.
“Through the proactive work of Greater Manchester Police’s Transport Unit and TravelSafe officers, we are cracking down on this aggressive, dangerous, and often illegal behaviour. This drive against antisocial behaviour has led to a 25% increase in arrests since August.”
Chief inspector Lorna McEwan, of BTP, added: “Targeting trains and their drivers is absolutely senseless and can have devastating results. We are conducting extra patrols across the network and those responsible can be assured they will face the consequences of their actions, whatever their age.
“This isn’t harmless fun – it is a criminal offence and drivers and passengers could be seriously injured. Parents, I urge you to know where your children are and what they are doing during the Easter holidays – and most importantly – convey to them the dangers of throwing items at trains.”
Featured image: Wikimedia Commons/TfGM
Andy Burnham wants to help more girls get into football
Andy Burnham has urged schools to do more to encourage young girls to get into football.
The Greater Manchester Mayor was speaking to Sky News‘ Kay Burley on Thursday, 8 December as he discussed the importance of promoting more women in football and sport, in general.
Burnham said that himself, the FA and notable women’s football advocates like former keeper Karen Bardsley are “determined” to make sure the buzz following the Women’s Euros isn’t just a flash in the pan.
With the England men’s team currently trying to replicate the Lionesses‘ success as they prepare for the quarter-final of the 2022 World Cup, he went on to emphasise the lasting memories football can create on a global scale.
The Mayor went on to say that with the help of schools across the UK, they hope to “make sure that the success the Lionesses had in the summer becomes a permanent legacy”, imploring schools, the sporting community and the nation at large “not let those summer memories fade”.
Insisting that he already feels the heroics of Euro 2022 have already had an impact when it comes to inspiring more girls to get into football.
He said that the uptake among “women in football” since the tournament has been “amazing” but warned educators and parents not to “leave it to chance” and provide the support to make “real change”.
Coins with King Charles III’s face on have officially entered circulation today
The Royal Mint has announced that the first coins to bear the effigy of King Charles III have officially entered circulation today.
In what marks the historic transition from Queen Elizabeth II to King Charles III on the public’s money, following the passing of the former back in September after 70 years on the throne, the first coins to bear The King’s portrait – are 50 pence pieces, and they will start to appear in circulation in Post Offices around the UK from today.
The coins not only bear The King’s face, but are also said to commemorate the life and legacy of the late monarch.
The reverse of the 50 pence features a design that originally appeared on the 1953 Coronation Crown, and includes the four quarters of the Royal Arms depicted within a shield, and in between each shield is an emblem of the home nations – a rose, a thistle, a shamrock, and a leek.
4.9 million 50 pence coins with King Charles III’s face on have been sent to UK Post Offices today.
The coin will first begin being distributing as change when customers make a purchase in store, The Royal Mint explains, before a total of 9.6 million 50ps eventually enter circulation in line with the public demand for them.
“Today marks a new era for UK coinage,” commented Rebecca Morgan, Director of Collector Services at The Royal Mint.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for coin collectors to add to their collections, or start one for the first time. We anticipate a new generation of coin collectors emerging, with people keeping a close eye on their change to try and spot a new 50p that bears the portrait of our new King.
“The Royal Mint has been trusted to make coins bearing the Monarch’s effigy for over 1,100 years and we are proud to continue this tradition into the reign of King Charles III.”
Also speaking as the coins enter circulation today, Nick Read – Chief Executive Office of the Post Office – said: “It is a tremendous honour for the Post Office that the first coinage featuring King Charles III is being released into circulation via our extensive branch network.
“December is our busiest time of the year so the coin will be entering our network in a phased manner.
“If you don’t receive the new 50p in your change on your first visit to a Post Office, you may well get it in your change in a subsequent visit, so keep a look out for it.”
All approximately 27 billion UK coins with Queen Elizabeth II’s face on will remain legal tender and in active circulation, and will eventually be replaced over time as they become damaged or worn and to meet demand for new coins.