Sunday, May 28, 2006

Let the Train Take the Strain

I suspect that others may have noticed that letting the train take the strain is no longer what it used to be following the news yesterday of a stabbing on a holiday train to Devon. This in from one of our readers:

“Just got back from a very pleasant day at Chelsea Flower Show. That was of course until we had to endure the journey from Victoria to Broadstairs by train, accompanied by three drunken louts who were f'ing and blinding every other word and screaming racial obscenities in front of women and children. The ticket collector seemed powerless to intervene, and I don't blame him. He probably didn't want to risk being knifed. I would like to know, what percentage of our population can be attributed to these types of thugs, and why the majority of us have to put up with this type of appalling, anti-social behaviour. I shall be returning my family rail card, as I have no intention of putting my family through that ordeal again. Oh, and guess where they got off the train?”

Ed: The true picture of rising levels of violent crime in England and Wales and historically low conviction rates is revealed today by The Observer.

An investigation shows that conviction rates for many of the most violent crimes have been in freefall since Labour came to power in 1997 and are now well below 10 per cent. The chronically low figures for convictions come at the same time as reports that violent crime is increasing.


Old codger said...

The majority of us have to put up with this type of appalling, anti-social behaviour because of yet once again the do gooders in our sociey. There is no threat of punishment to anything a youngster gets up to. The old clip round the ear used to work wonders but is no longer accepted by some. When the youngsters of today mature what sort of society this country will have I hate to think.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure that a clip round the ear was/is either appropriate or effective. To pretend that many of these problems did not exist decades ago when those more "halycon days" prevailed is wrong.

As for the responsibility for this anti-social behaviour, why not look first at the POLICE - are they really as efficient as they should be? Why do they sometimes prefer to sit and watch for illegal night-time stopping/parking on yellow lines,or supposedly anti-social behaviour in public toilets, rather than patrol and prevent violent and other serious crime - because it's easier for them. Why do MAGISTRATES and JUDGES not issue more appropriate sentences - they are perfectly able to do so within the Law and sentencing guidelines. These should be the main targets for criticism, not the Government.

Anonymous said...

I am a train guard & I must say you cant apportion blame JUST on the railways(from this incident anyway).I and the vast majority of my colleagues WILL intervene in circumstances of this nature.This is our job & anyone not doing so are letting the public down. Yobs of this nature are around EVERYWHERE & yes,they should be stopped.This government needs to step up the "zero tolerance" level on all yobs. Whatever their age GIVE out their names,shame them. Somewhere along the line an example of these people(sorry "scum") needs to be made. Just ONE of them, getting a severe sentence at the first offence will show others that hiding behind a "hood" or merely being of an age that is in effect a defensive mechanism will not be tolerated.About time a TRUE example was made once & for all.

Old codger said...

You say a clip round the ear was ineffective. It was the THREAT of a clip round the ear that taught us respect. There is no such threat to today's youngsters.

Anonymous said...

Old Codger, it's no use knocking on about the good ol' days of a clip round the ear, they're not coming back so there is no further point mentioning it. I heard the other day that there is the possibility of the British Transport Police being dispanded. Now I'd have some sympathy if I saw them patrolling trains and not just the Tube or marshalling yards. I catch the train to and from London every day and there is no point at present having a uniformed presence on the commuter trains as commuters are mainly well behaved. However on later trains from Victoria from half seven onwards there are always people on there who are a pain in the butt. Last week several girls throwing hamburgers about, next week what? A stabbing.

Anonymous said...

How come the Police get body armour and pepper spray but the public aren't even allowed to carry pepper spray? What protection are we allowed? Certainly we don't get it off the Police on board trains. Maybe why so many kids especially carry knives, as protection, the rest of us... what? Sat on a train when it kicks off you've no where to run.

Anonymous said...

In the past we have had security guards patrol the trains , which did have an effect on these scum . But for financial reasons they were taken away . pressure needs to put on the train companies to make sure that trains are safe to travel on . I dont travel late because I dont think its safe , well only when I am at work , but then as a train driver I get a seat on my own !

Dobson of Margate said...

A clip round the ear would have no effect these days, chances are you'd just get the person retaliating. Naming and shaming would have no effect either, kids don't care if everyone thinks they're a yob. Id' say it would turn into some kind of glory thing anyway.

British Transport Police? I've never even heard of them, let alone seen one police officer on a train in my whole life. Having some kind of recurring police presence on trains probably would have some effect I suspect.

Anonymous said...

BTP are highly visible at most major London Terminus. They're Police, the same as the Met, City of London Police, Kent Police etc. They seem like they may be going the same way as the British Transport Commission Officers dispanded in the early 70s. The history link is quite interesting:

Anonymous said...

anon again!

YobMob's account for about 80% of the under 30's, and is ever on the increase.
This is because the Police do absolutely nothing until someone is stabbed or maimed, or worse.
Prevention was always better than cure. So, WHY don't they nip it in the bud like they always used to?
Most of the Yobs hold down Jobs, I even witnessed a person, who I know works in a bank, being absolutely dangerously obnoxious when anebriated.
I believe in having a 'good time', but there should be limitations as there are with things like noise.
For the work the Police do, they are paid far too much, they should work on some kind of 'success bonus' instead of being discovered having an indescreet illegal tea-breaks, and being caught 'off guard'.
This is my opinion and may not have any bearing on the realities of everyday life!

Anonymous said...

Anon of 11.54 - I suspect it might be too much to say that 80% of the under 30's are yobs, many are married and settled down decent citizens, but I agree that a good percentage of them are.
What's the solution - an effective police force rather than the overpaid and underworked coppers of today.
We don't go to London on the train anymore, having been caught in the middle of drunken behviour coming home by train on more than one occasion we just don't go to the theatre any more. Its too far to drive.
Perhaps we need the sort of police death squads they have in Brazil to deal with the problem?
Brutal but very effective, bit of trouble - bullet in back of head. No more problem.

Anonymous said...

anon again!
how strange, I was actually discussing the very same thing this afternoon, death squads or removal of limbs, with an Official
(can't say where he works, but he's quite high up).
Perhaps the 80% assessment made earlier was a bit high... how about 75% give or take a few?
Trouble is, the offenders are getting younger and younger. Quite honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if quite soon we are reading about murderers under 10 years old... it's happened before... but the less scared these people are of authority the more they are 'encouraged' to participate in wrong & Criminal doings.

Real Old Codger said...

Glad to see there is another Old Codger out there. How much of the problem is this Govt's reluctance to build prisons? You need space if you are to dish out meaningful sentences and prison has to mean prison; not failed tagging initiatives, not early release and not Ford Open Prison! Possession of a serious knife used to attract 18 month sentences 30 years ago and stop and search was the way you caught peolple walking around tooled up. Stop and search is almost non existent and we have inadequate prison space with 10,000 of the 70,000 prisoners not even British Nationals.
The successful prosecution rate has fallen steadily since the CPS took over from the Police prosecuter. I don't care if we double the size of the Police Forces in the UK, double prison capacity, employ more people in the justice system and remove the ridiculous anonymity and inadequate punishment of youngsters; 1p on income tax would be willingly given. To deter you have to catch, successfully prosecute and lock up for a good stretch. Until this is done, take care of yourselves out there and be awry of asking youngsters not to smoke on a bus.

Lucy Mail said...

This is my opinion and may not have any bearing on the realities of everyday life!

Posted by Anonymous | 11:54 AM

May be where you are going wrong. How many realities do you think we live in?
Certainly none that have 80% of under-30's intimidating their communities. Not even in the strange and northerly facing reality of Margate!
Where did that figure come from? 'Reality' TV, by any chance?
Goodness, gracious me.

>>Quite honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if quite soon we are reading about murderers under 10 years old... it's happened before<<

Well, quite!

And, of course, these children are to blame! NOT the people that created the society that they live in or, indeed, the children themselves.
I don't think so!
Anyone who doesn't feel responsible because they didn't have a hand in creating the sociecty that we live in, either be quiet and crawl back into the hole you've been hiding in for all of your life or get off your backside and start changing things to how you'd like them to be.

James Maskell said...

Hate to be a pedant but those under the age of 10 legally cant be done for murder as the age of criminal responsibility kicks in at their tenth birthday...

Anyway, carry on...

Anonymous said...

I hope all of you have read about the other big news knifing case over the weekend, headlined murdered for chivalry. A first year student at St Andrews University travelling home by train was stabbed to death after offering himself as peacemaker in a domestic style dispute, and killed in front of the 3 children travelling with the offender.

Here truly is the dilemma for us all; how often do we not interfere in something clearly wrong for fear of finding the violence turned upon ourselves? How many others in this carriage sat tight when this young man 'did the right thing'? Truth is a railway cariage can be a really confined space when facing a man with a knife. How often have any of us sat and pondered whether to interfere in such circumstances? Such is the ultimate failure of our society and its lack of principle and respect for others. Every time one tries to take a position of moral influence we risk an explosion of mindless violence. Interestingly, in Northern Ireland for many years such crimes were much less likely. Perhaps the para military groups were rather less tolerant than our own justice system? But then, living under their control was clealry not fantastic either. What, I wonder is the price of true freedom? Where are the boundaries on which we all agree? Like so much else on this site, there are fewer easy answers than we may think.

Chris Wells

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, the Provos policed West Belfast effectively; any crime not theirs was dealt with quite simply. Finding a 15 year old lad with his kneecaps shot away is not pleasant and tends to put other drug pushers off the idea.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I had a strange experience last christmas. Travelling back from a work christmas party late on a friday she was taken ill on the train. Now don't get me wrong, this was not pleasant for other passengers, and we apologised and made every attempt to clear up the mess. However on arriving at Ashford the guard insisted we leave the train, purely because she had been sick. We initially refused but when an off-duty police officer stepped in we had no choice but to get off the train.
We were left at Ashford station late on a Friday night, in the company of the hoodies etc!
As someone who commutes daily, and often has to catch the late night trains out of London, I wish the same enthusiasm for removing passengers from the train would be shown towards the groups of drunken teenagers that travel through trains intimidating other passengers!

Anonymous said...

There is an advert for railway security personnel in the Thanet Times today.
Apparently to be considered for the job you have to have a background in customer service apart from anything else.
They seem to have been unsuccessful in the past recruiting for these jobs as they state that previous applicants need not reapply.
Eighteen thousand a year to start. Is that worth running the risk of being stabbed etc?
Not to me I am afraid.

Anonymous said...

What happened to the barriers that are being installed at Ramsgate/broadstairs and Margate? you see umpteen undesirables on the trains these days. The barriers would make a difference to who is about on the network.

Anonymous said...

Every business, except the Railways, has a duty of care to its customers. Why does there appear to be an exemption for the railway's customers; unmanned trains and stations can be dangerous and frightening places.

Anonymous said...

anon again!

It is not the railway's fault, or the airlines fault, or the bus companies fault. It is the behavioural fault of the scum who do the murdering, maiming, raping on these transport options.
Must we have to Police ALL areas where the scum hang out?
Blimey, you don't have to be blind to see that (no offence).

There is little or NO deterent for the scum, so they just go ahead and commit whatever crime they like.

Feral. Born into family, but left grow up wild.

This what they are!

The modern day SCUM of the Earth.
A social disease of increasing volume.... pandemic! Booze and or Drugs, causes most of their problems to arise.
Police must be scared of them too, as they don't seem willing to act against them.
Ah, excuse me, one does hear of idiots being rounded up and punished (when I say punished, I mean let off by the wheels of justice with a £200 fine or something similar).

It's their attitude to life.... there isn't one.
They just Bully themselves around until somebody gets hurt or worse.

But! what to do about it? Who knows what the answer to that little query is!