New Safer Travel PCSOs to increase bus safety

A new team of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) dedicated to West Yorkshire’s bus network are now being introduced.

3 November 2023

A new team of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) dedicated to West Yorkshire’s bus network are now being introduced.

With £1m in funding from the West Yorkshire Mayor’s Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP), 15 full time PCSOs will patrol bus stations and buses across the county.

The Safer Travel PCSOs aim to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, increase the safety of women and girls, and reassure and protect more vulnerable travel users.

The team is overseen by a Police Sergeant and supported by the local authorities, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and bus operators.

The new PCSOs join a range of improvements across the bus network to increase safety, including:

  • 24/7 CCTV recorded CCTV, which is monitored by LeedsWatch at 27 bus stations across the region. LeedsWatch will alert the police or bus station staff to incidents, such as anti-social behaviour as required and regularly provide evidence packages to the police to assist with successful prosecution of offenders.
  • Dedicated help points in unstaffed bus stations which have already been used in medical emergencies.
  • All West Yorkshire Bus Stations are registered Safe Places, offering help if someone is anxious or feels vulnerable while they are out and about.
  • Bus station staff receive conflict management training to minimise disruption and safety concerns for passengers.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “Everyone should feel safe in West Yorkshire, and that includes when travelling on public transport.

“The new team is a highly visible resource, ready to make a difference, so do feel free to say hello or ask for help when you see them.

“Devolved powers have made this possible and I can make informed decisions about where this cash goes to improve life for local people, for a safer, fairer West Yorkshire.”

Assistant Chief Constable Sarah Baker of West Yorkshire Police said: “We are delighted that we have the uplift of 15 Police Community Support Officers, dedicated to making our buses and bus stations safer across West Yorkshire.

“Reducing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour, making the streets safer for women and girls and protecting vulnerable travel users are all key priorities for the force.

“These PCSOs will act as a reassuring presence to people who travel on the bus network.”

Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council's executive member for resources with responsibility for Safer Leeds, said: “We are committed to tackling Anti-Social Behaviour in all its forms, and so are pleased to see that funding from the Mayor’s office has been secured to support this initiative, and in particular provide a new team of Police Community Support Officers to work on the transport network to help ensure everyone is safe.

"The team is there to support you when you travel and we encourage everyone to make use of this resource when needed."

Roads Minister Richard Holden said: “People up and down the country deserve a modern, reliable, and affordable public transport system. That is why we have provided the West Yorkshire Combined Authority with over £77 million to boost its bus services.

“Supporting the Combined Authority with introducing a new team of Police Community Support Officers is fantastic for local residents, who will now be able to use the local bus network with more confidence and peace of mind.”