Studies suggest that nearly a third of British households do not own a mode of personal transport - i.e., a car. Therefore, it wouldn't be too far off the mark to say that the number of people using public transport systems would be larger because not every member in a household owning a car may be able to use it. However, it has been found that 11.5% more journeys would be made on an everyday basis, if people felt more secure using public transport (Department Of Transport, UK).
Here, it is imperative to trace the genesis of such insecurities. Reports show that apprehensions to use public transport are often reflected in factors like the person's age, gender or ethnic background. Further, a recent survey of both users and non-users of public transport indicates that, after service and reliability, over 50 percent of respondents felt personal security should be the priority area for improvement. While concern for personal security is not necessarily born during the time spent on board the train or bus, witnessing anti-social behaviour, criminal damage and graffiti can cause more discomfort or insecurity besides isolated routes and the walk home from the bus or train during the night hours.
This brings us to the policy commitments of the DFT in context of crime. As part of its safety measures, the DFT has various schemes under the category of proactive and reactive elements. The proactive elements include measures like the use of CCTVs, wide publicity and public information in the form of posters and leaflets, clear signage, real time information displays, public address systems, improved lighting, and help points at less busy rail and bus stations. Besides this, elements like crime prevention, additional staff and spot patrols by the British Transport Police, package measures like the secure station scheme and partnerships for crime and disorder, Safer Travel on Buses and Coaches programmes, among various others, are incorporated in the crime prevention system. Also, it has been suggested that crime prevention groups like the
British Transport Police as well as Crime Concern, should adopt proactive measures to tackle vandalism, especially in vulnerable areas. While passengers need to be aware of a comprehensive and appropriate approach towards the evolution of a secure travelling station, like the Secure Stations Scheme, it has become imperative to take certain reactive measures like targeted police initiative. These can guarantee a sizable impact on crime reduction and anti social behaviour on problematic routes.
In view of its policy commitments, a major issue is raised in the fact that episodes of crime and disorder rarely come to the notice of crime agencies, irrespective of the fact that they are serious concerns that are beginning to shape people's choices when it comes to mode of transport and the time or situation when they avail public transport facilities. Since instances of crime are mostly low and local in incidence, a well kept environment and locally developed strategies to combat such occurrences has been deemed fit. Such programmes have to be structured along the lines of reactive measures, so as to have maximum impact. Further, increased feasibility of such policies can be attained through measures like the identification of a separate