Police patrols on Harpenden trains
A commuter who regularly uses Harpenden Station was puzzled when he spotted police officers apparently riding shotgun for First Capital Connect s (FCC) ticket inspectors. Thomas Parrott, 36, of Coleswood Road, Harpenden, said initially he was concerned th
A commuter who regularly uses Harpenden Station was puzzled when he spotted police officers apparently riding shotgun for First Capital Connect's (FCC) ticket inspectors.
Thomas Parrott, 36, of Coleswood Road, Harpenden, said initially he was concerned that council tax payers were having to pay for police officers to protect FCC staff until he was told that Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) were at the station for another reason at the same time.
But after seeing several other instances he questioned why, at a time of ever-tighter funding, the protection of a team of revenue protection officers doing their job on private railway property was being carried out by PCSOs who were normally funded by council tax payers.
A spokesman for FCC explained that the PCSOs and other officers all worked for British Transport Police (BTP).
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He said: "FCC invest �1 million per year in 24 PCSOs and five BTP officers to patrol our network. The team do support revenue operations as often anti-social behaviour and crime are connected to fare evasion. However this is a tiny part of what they do across our route."
He said that they were engaged in many crime prevention initiatives and bids to improve security at FCC stations seven days a week.
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Mr Parrott added: "I'm pleased to learn that FCC is paying them but I would have thought they would have been better deployed on a weekend evening when there would be more likely to be security problems and fare-dodging.