WEARSIDE Metro stations have been given a prestigious safety award for keeping crime down.
Eleven stations on the Tyne and Wear system have received the Safer Tram Stop award.
The South Tyneside and Sunderland extension is the first route on the Tyne and Wear Metro network to be recognised with and includes stations all the way to South Hylton.
The Safer Tram Stop award is presented to light rail stations which achieve a number of standards laid down by Secured by Design, a police initiative to encourage best practice in personal security at public places.
Sunderland station is the only stop to not be entered for the award, as it is owned by Northern Rail and is also used by heavy rail trains.
Among the critera assessed as part of the award are good lighting, up-to-date timetables, fully operational CCTV, help points, emergency alarms, the monitoring of all criminal activity, ticket machines being emptied and readily available staff.
Tobyn Hughes, customer services director at Nexus, which owns Metro, said: “Crime remains low and has been falling on the Metro system for the last six years.
“This award for 11 of our stations is testament to that positive trend.”
Sunderland Station is the only stop to not be entered for the award, as it is owned by Northern Rail and is also used by heavy rail trains.
Richard McClean, managing director of Metro Operator DB Regio, said: “We have worked hard to maintain the Secured by Design standards and feel this is something which will improve the Metro passenger experience by making them feel safer, as well as reducing the level of crime on and around the network.”
Chief superintendent Terry Nicholson, of British Transport Police, said: “The rail system is a low-crime environment and one where increasing resources are being put into combating anti-social behaviour and disorder.
“However, if we are going to drive down crime and antisocial behaviour even further, we need to continue to work together in a smarter and more planned way.
“That is what the Safer Tram Stop Scheme can offer – a meaningful measure of better co-operative working between station operators and the police, not only of crime, but more importantly of how people feel about the stations they travel to and from.”