Metro hires ex-soldier and former Afghanistan embassy protector as new security chief

Paul Harris, security manager for Metro
Paul Harris, security manager for Metro

Metro bosses have hired a former Redcap with experience in Afghanistan to take over security on the system.

Paul Harris, a former Sergeant in the Royal Military Police, will take up the new role created by Nexus to oversee security for the 38 million passengers who use Metro every year.

Transport executive Nexus said Paul brings a wealth of experience to the role, from his 14-year military career and from private sector security work, which has included a stint managing the security of foreign embassies in the Afghan capital city of Kabul.

Paul said he will be working closely with Northumbria Police and the British Transport Police, and is keen to target issues of antisocial behaviour on Metro.

News of his appointment comes days after thieves knocked out the system by stealing cable.

Paul said: “This is a great new challenge for me and I’m thrilled to be working for such a high profile local brand in the Tyne and Wear Metro. The top priority at all times is the safety and security of the people who use Metro every day.

“I’d never previously considered working in transport security. There are so many different areas that can be looked at. I can’t wait to get started.

“One of my major aims is to tackle issue on anti-social behaviour on Metro so that our customers and staff can travel around without having to see that sort of thing on the transport system. I’ll be working closely with the police and our own frontline staff to address this issue.”

Tobyn Hughes, managing director of Nexus, said: “We want Metro passengers to feel safe and confident when using Metro.

"We have created a new dedicated role of security manager to improve how we work with our staff, the police and partners in the communities we serve to achieve that every day. It is just one of the ways we are working to make Metro better.”

Metro services director Chris Carson, said: “I’m really pleased to have someone with Paul’s level of security experience in such a key role for the Tyne and Wear Metro.

“The management of safety and security is of paramount importance and Paul will help us to build on the excellent work that we’ve already done.

“While crime on Metro remains low we always working closely with the police to tackle issues of fare evasion and anti-social behaviour. Paul will be focusing to ensure the Metro is a safe place customers and staff.”

Paul, 48, of Gosforth in Newcastle, is originally from Plymouth in Devon, but has lived in the North East since 2004.