Rail vandals in the picture

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NORTHERN Rail is taking its war on railway vandals to the streets.

The firm, which operates Sunderland’s rail links to Tyneside and Teesside, has launched a mobile surveillance vehicle that will roam its network, aimed at reducing crime on trains and in and around the company’s stations.

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The mobile CCTV surveillance vehicle was introduced after an initial trial, and will be used by the officers from the Rail Response Team. The vehicle is equipped with four state-of-the-art CCTV cameras, with 360-degree viewing and recording capability.

It will be deployed to cover large-scale events, such as football matches, as well as routinely patrolling stations and car parks where no CCTV is available, either as a deterrent to a crime or in response to a reported or potential offence.

Gary Stewart, safety and assurance director for Northern Rail, said: “We wanted to deliver a totally-flexible solution for our business – with more than 460 stations, it is not possible, nor necessary, for us to install CCTV at all of these locations.

“The mobile surveillance vehicle allows us to undertake much more surveillance work, provide further support to British Transport Police and provide our employees and customers with a higher level of reassurance.”

Detective Chief Inspector Malcolm McKinnon, of British Transport Police, said: “The introduction of the mobile CCTV vehicle will provide another evidential tool to tackle problematic and criminal behaviour on the railway.

“We welcome any initiatives or equipment which aid in the policing of the railway and would like to reassure passengers and rail staff alike that BTP and Northern Rail will continue to work in partnership to keep them as safe as possible.”