Revealed: crime and harassment soar at Hastings Railway Station

New figures show the extent of crime at Hastings Railway Station
New figures show the extent of crime at Hastings Railway Station

The number of crimes committed at Hastings Railway Station has risen by 50 per cent in just one year, the Observer can reveal.

This follows a trend across the network, where strained police resources are having to deal with a rise in offending at our train stations.

Police checking for drugs on passengers at Hastings Railway Station in a previous year

Police checking for drugs on passengers at Hastings Railway Station in a previous year

British Transport Police (BTP) said it works hard to make sure officers are in the ‘right place at the right time’.

However it said the chances of being a victim of a crime are ‘thankfully rare’.

Spike in overall crime

There were 78 offences recorded at Hastings’ train station in the year to June 16, 2018, according to the data obtained by a Freedom of Information Request.

It is important to remember that passenger numbers continue to increase and that the chances of being a victim of crime are thankfully rare

British Transport Police

This is a 50 per cent increase on 2016-17. What is more, the data shows overall offending has increased by nearly 130 per cent in the last five years.

Looking closer at the figures, harassment and threats of violence at the station shot up by 60 per cent last year, and have trebled over the last five.

There were 32 offences logged in those categories last year.

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The data, released by BTP following an Freedom of Information request, shows a marked increase in assaults logged at the station.

In 2013-14 police logged just 5 assaults on Hastings Railway Station property.

In the year to June 16, 2018, that figure had shot up to 14 (+180 per cent).

Two assauts at the station last year resulted in actual bodily harm (ABH), and one resulted in grievous bodily harm (GBH).

Theft figures steady

Like many crimes, thievery at the station has risen in recent years.

However the increase is a little less stark than for other crimes such has harassment.

Last year there were 20 instances of theft reported at the station, up 25 per cent on 2016-17.

But put into the longer term view, the 20 alleged thefts were barely higher than the 19 logged in 2013-14.

It is a similar story with bike thefts, which increased by 25 per cent last year, with only three more logged than in 2013-14.

Police reassure passengers

Despite the statistics, British Transport Police was quick to reassure people.

A spokesman for BTP said: “We have officers out across Sussex around the clock, keeping passengers and rail staff safe.

“Like other forces, over recent years BTP has recorded an increase in crime on the rail network, including at Chichester station.

“It is important to remember that passenger numbers continue to increase and that the chances of being a victim of crime are thankfully rare.

“We know a visible policing presence is vital to building public confidence and so we work closely with our partners to ensure we’re in the right place at the right time, wherever we’re needed.

“We’re committed to tackling crime and ensure that passengers and rail staff feel reassured when travelling on the network.

“If anyone ever witnesses a crime on the rail network, or needs our help in any way, we urge them to get in touch by sending us a text to 61016 or by calling 0800 40 50 40.”

Station operator speaks

A spokesman for Southeastern, which runs the station, said: “We take the safety and security of our passengers and staff incredibly seriously.

“Overall, crime at our stations and on board our trains has decreased by 46.5 per cent since Southeastern took over the franchise in 2006.

“Our team of dedicated railway enforcement officers carried out 55,000 patrols of trains and stations last year, and we work closely with the British Transport Police to keep our passengers safe and secure.”

What do you think?

Do you use Hastings Railway Station?

What do you think about the increase in crime? Send your views to hastings.observer@jpress.co.uk.