Police want people to 'discreetly' text them about incidents on trains - including smoking

Police are suggesting that rail travellers should text an incident alert - if they see a passenger smoking on a train.

Wednesday, 19th October 2016, 10:22 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 6:32 pm
Police want rail passengers to 'discreetly' text them about incidents and crimes on trains.

British Transport Police (BTP) is urging travellers to report "crime or incidents" on trains or at stations "discreetly" by text.

An advertising campaign - which has the strapline "let's make a difference" - gives examples of the kind of crimes and incidents travellers might report.

One example on advertisements posted on trains is "passenger smoking".

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The head of a group which lobbies on behalf of smokers expressed surprise.

"You can only laugh," said Simon Clark - director of Forest. "I'd be interested to know how many texts they get. I can't remember the last time I saw someone smoking on a train.

"I would have thought you might ask the person to stop or point at the many no smoking signs or tell a member of staff. I'm not really sure there's a need to alert the police.

"I wonder what the police will do when they get the text from one of this army of citizen spies? Will there be a Swat team at Watford Junction ready to follow a trail of smoke."

A BTP spokesman said: "Smoking is a by-law offence. It may make a passenger feel uncomfortable. It may create a safety issue."

He said police might board a train and speak to a smoker if alerted.