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Mike

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Transport Secretary Louise Haigh will visit Greater Manchester today [Thursday 11th July] to begin the Government’s bus revolution, as she pledges to support every community to take back control of buses through franchising or public ownership. 

  • Louise Haigh visits Greater Manchester on her first official visit, with a pledge to support local leaders to deliver better buses  
  • Under the Government’s plan Local Transport Authorities across the country will be empowered to take back control of buses 
  • The Transport Secretary will see first-hand how Greater Manchester’s Bee Network, has boosted reliability and passenger numbers

 

She will meet with the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to discuss how the area’s Bee Network can be replicated across the country to deliver better services, grow passenger numbers and drive opportunity to under-served regions. 

The Transport Secretary will pledge to create and save vital bus routes up and down the country, calling time on the failed system of deregulation that has seen service levels plummet. The plans will also bring an end to the postcode lottery of bus services by providing safeguards over local networks across the country. 

Launched last September as the first bus franchise in England outside London, the integrated Bee Network has delivered for local people by growing passenger numbers and improving the reliability of local bus services. This has already seen passenger numbers grow by 5% in the first area to be franchised, with revenue following suit.

The Transport Secretary will see first-hand how the successes of the Bee Network can be replicated across the country, improving services and handing power back to local people.  

The Transport Secretary will also hear directly the challenges faced by Greater Manchester during its franchising journey. 

Greater Manchester endured a six-year slog to deliver local control of bus services due to unnecessary barriers. The Government’s plan will remove these barriers so better buses can be delivered faster. 

Transport Secretary Louise Haigh said

“Buses are the lifeblood of communities, but the system is broken.  

“Too often, passengers are left waiting hours for buses that don’t turn up – and some have been cut off altogether. 

“Change starts now. This new Government will give local leaders the tools they need to deliver better buses up and down the country. 

“Our plan will create and save vital bus routes by giving every community the power to take back control of their bus services through franchising or public ownership. 

“We are already seeing how the Bee Network is delivering for people across Greater Manchester – we will ensure every community can enjoy the same benefits.” 

The Bee Network is also boosting Manchester's Metrolink. In May, it recorded its busiest month in its 32-year history with 4.1 million passengers using the iconic yellow trams, higher than the previous record of 4 million set before the pandemic in 2019. 

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said:

“Properly integrated public transport is the key to unlocking growth and opportunity across our city-region, improving the lives of our residents, supporting businesses and delivering greater value for money. 

“The numbers speak for themselves - our Bee Network has more passengers than ever before and is providing a better service for residents.  

"Greater Manchester has shown that our pioneering approach works and we look forward to working with the government to put power back into the hands of local communities.”

The bus plan is part of the new Government’s ambition to develop a long-term, national strategy for transport. This will ensure infrastructure can be delivered efficiently and on time while allowing local people to take back control of their buses, trams and trains.  

Graham Vidler, CEO for The Confederation of Passenger Transport said:

“The industry stands fully behind the objectives of growing the nation’s vital bus network and improving passengers’ experiences.

“We look forward to working hand in hand with the government to deliver change which benefits passengers across the whole country and drives swifter progress towards the UK’s climate targets.”

We will be reading out a statement at 4.30pm today (12 July) as our investigation into missing Claire from Barnsley continues. 

Efforts to find missing 44-year-old Claire remain ongoing and as part of our ongoing investigation, we will be reading out a statement in Barnsley later today (12 July).

Claire, aged 44, was last seen on Monday 24 June between 2.30pm and 3pm, at the Junction of Silkstone Lane and High Street in the Silkstone area of Barnsley. 

Please see our latest appeal here: https://www.southyorkshire.police.uk/news/south-yorkshire/news/missing/search-continues-for-missing-claire/

Chief Inspector John Mallows will be making a statement near to where Claire was last seen.

Please call the press office on 0114 252 3848 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to confirm your attendance and with any questions you have.

Please meet at the function of Silkstone Lane and High Street in Barnsley where you will be directed to the location where the statement will be read out. A pin to the meeting location can be found here: https://maps.app.goo.gl/8xaTxzoAQcwY5C8h7

A series of new measures to improve safety and reduce violence, including bleed cabinets, ID scanners and anti-spiking kits have been unveiled. 

Cleveland Unit for the Reduction of Violence (CURV), working with local partners and councils have introduced several new interventions to support safety during the day and night-time economy. 

Four emergency bleed control cabinets have been installed across Stockton-on-Tees, in an attempt to reduce blood loss sustained through serious injuries, for example, from car accidents, falls, dog bites and knife wounds. 

The cabinets each hold several pieces of equipment and instructions on how to control heavy bleeding. The cabinets are accessible 24 hours a day using a code provided by calling the Borough Security Centre number on the front of the unit.  

A further eight cabinets are due to be installed in Middlesbrough and Hartlepool.  

Four cabinets have already been installed in Redcar and Cleveland locations through previous CURV funding as well as 210 handheld metal detector wands for door staff to be able to detect weapons across all four boroughs.

Bleed Cabinet Yarm 04

The programme of work has also introduced Scannet machines – a system that scans someone’s identification and checks if it’s genuine. 

Should an incident occur the Scannet system can help identify those involved, providing photographic evidence.

Other interventions include Eemits radios used by venues to alert Stockton-on-Tees’ Security Centre to focus CCTV onto potential incidents and relay images onto the police control room and anti-spiking equipment, including bottle toppers, and foil drink covers. 

A total of 25 body worn cameras have also been distributed to staff in licensed premises across Redcar and Cleveland. 

The funding has been distributed across the four Boroughs as follows: 

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council allocated £20,725.10 to fund: 

  • 4 bleed cabinets installed outside Yarm Town Hall, The Bank in Norton, The Shambles and Ku Bar in Stockton Town Centre. 

  • 1 Scannet machine to be installed at a licensed premise. 

  • 13 Eemits radios to be distributed to licensed premises. 

  • Anti-spiking resources. 

  

Redcar and Cleveland Council allocated £18,084.00 to fund: 

  • 25 Apex radios to be distributed to licensed premises.  

  • 1 Scannet machine to be installed at a licensed premise. 

  • 25 bodycams for staff at licensed premises. 

 

Middlesbrough Borough Council allocated £12,965.00 to fund: 

  • 4 bleed cabinets plus 4 kits for replenishment to be installed in night-time economy hotspot areas. 

  • 30 Apex radios to be distributed to licensed premises. 

  • Anti-spiking resources. 

 

Hartlepool Borough Council allocated £14,087.15 to fund: 

  • 4 bleed cabinets to be installed at the Central Hub, Civic Centre Concourse, Station Approach CCTV Camera Column and OrangeBox.  

  • 25 Apex radios to be distributed to licensed premises. 

  • Anti-spiking resources. 

Police and Crime Commissioner Matt Storey said: "I want residents and visitors to Cleveland's bustling towns to feel safe at all times, so I am very proud of CURV's preventative approach to tackling serious violence. 

“These safety measures will support the area's day and night-time economy and will play a part in making our Boroughs safer and even more welcoming places for everyone.” 

Councillor Norma Stephenson, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Access, Communities and Community Safety, added: “Having these new measures available in Yarm, Norton and Stockton will improve safety for residents and visitors, providing reassurance for people so that they can fully relax and enjoy all that our town centres can have to offer.” 

Northern is asking members of the public to treat everyone working on the railway with respect as it cracks down on verbal and physical abuse.

The train operator has highlighted a number of incidents conductors have faced while they work to ensure everyone reaches their destination safely and that they all have a valid ticket for travel.

While the overwhelming majority of people who travel with Northern are polite and respectful, a very small minority has resorted to shouting, spitting and attacking members of staff in recent years.

Four of the train operator’s conductors have shared their experiences in the hope it will make people think about their behaviour towards them and their colleagues.

Northern said it will not tolerate verbal and physical abuse towards staff and will take action against anyone who threatens their employees’ safety.

In December, Northern revealed the number of dangerous attacks on its trains had fallen by almost 90% over the previous 12 months, with the number of recorded incidents dropping from 69 to just eight.

The train operator says the chance of perpetrators being caught on camera is now much higher after it added a further 600 new CCTV cameras to the more than 1,000 that monitor its station estate.

It came after the operator installed 7,000 HD CCTV cameras on board its fleet of trains and invested £1.7m in the roll-out of more than 1,000 extra body-worn camera kits, taking the total number now in operation to 1,300.

British Transport Police has access to all the footage and can use it in criminal prosecutions.

Dozens of undercover and plain-clothed police officers and Northern's travel safety officers also regularly patrol services across the North of England.

Kerry Peters, regional director for Northern, said: “We welcome millions of customers on-board our trains every year and the overwhelming majority are polite, considerate and respectful of others.

"Unfortunately, given the numbers involved, our conductors do also encounter people who are somewhat less respectful of them and the safety critical role they have on-board – and that is unacceptable.”

Anthony Mooney is a 36-year-old conductor based in Liverpool who has worked for Northern for two years.

“I had an incident recently where I got a tirade of homophobic abuse from someone and they threatened to kill me. All because I asked him for a ticket,” he said.

“You’ve got to have a thick skin in this job because you can get called every name under the sun. It can escalate from nothing when you least expect it.

“It’s very difficult not to take it home. It plays on your mind and it’s hard to continue with your day. No one should have to deal with that, no matter what you have to do.

“If I took everything personally, I wouldn't be able to continue working as a conductor.”

Lewis Tracey is a 28-year-old conductor based in Wigan who has worked for Northern for eight years.

“I had a lad spit in my face and try to punch me a few years ago. It was completely out of the blue, but that’s the sort of thing you have to put up with,” he said.

“With some people you can reason with them, but with others there is no reasoning whatsoever, no matter what you do. It does get stressful, there’s no denying it.

“They see the uniform and want someone to vent at, but sometimes the abuse does get really personal and they don’t realise how much it can affect that person."

He added: “The body-worn cameras and CCTV do make a difference, because people think twice before they abuse someone or hit someone because they know they’re on camera."

Jackie Ross is a 53-year-old conductor based in Liverpool who has worked for Northern for 16 years.

“I work early shifts and I am used to getting abuse from people who have been out the night before,” she said.

“You just have to try and engage with them, but it can be challenging when they’re under the influence, rude and trying to pick fights. Some people think they can do whatever they want and there are no consequences.

“There was one occasion when I asked a fare evader to leave the train and he started kicking the door and then spat in my face. I’m not here to be spat at.

“You do take it home with you sometimes, but you’ve just got to get back to work and crack on with it.

“When there is trouble, I just tell them to calm down because there are other people on the train and remind them that we all want to get home. You have to work with them and let them see you’re not up against them.”

Andrew Wade is a 59-year-old conductor based in Skipton who has worked for Northern for 12 years.

“People who refuse to pay often become verbally abusive when they see you approach in a uniform. They will do anything to try and get out of paying,” he said.

“Whenever someone is letting off steam, I try and defuse the situation by sitting down with them and talking to them as an equal. But there are some situations where that isn’t possible.

“I have never been physically assaulted, but there have been three occasions when I have lost sleep after being threatened. It does take its toll.

“I always try to process what happened and think about whether I could have handled it differently and if I could prevent it from happening again in the future.

“But it’s reassuring to know that the trains are covered by CCTV and the body-worn cameras, which are very good and available for everyone to wear. I do think they act as a deterrent to anyone who is being anti-social.”

People who witnesses physical or verbal attacks are encouraged to report them to British Transport Police by texting 61016 or by calling 0800 40 50 40.

British Transport Police’s ‘Railway Guardian’ app is available to download from Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Northern is the second largest train operator in the UK, with 2,500 services a day to more than 500 stations across the North of England.

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