Rise in drug and theft offences on Barking and Dagenham buses

Drug offences and theft on buses in Barking and Dagenham have seen a major rise since last year, the latest Transport for London crime figures show.

There were a total of 19 drugs related offences on Barking and Dagenham’s buses between April and September this year, compared to two during the same period in 2010.

But the increase, say police, is down to officers stopping and searching more passengers and does not necessarily mean more people are carrying drugs.

Theft and handling rose from 81 last year to 106 this year, while robbery went up by one, from 30 to 31 incidents.

Overall crime on Barking and Dagenham buses saw a rise of 4.5 per cent, with 244 incidents reported in the six month period in 2010 and 255 in 2011.

The biggest fall was in criminal damage offences which dropped from 42 to 17. The number of violence against another person incidents also shrank, from 81 to 73.

Barking and Dagenham Supt Gary Buttercase said: “The rise in drug offences is because we are stopping more people with drugs on buses now - so it’s a positive increase. We are concerned about the amount of theft, so we are just about to increase the number of police officers on the safer transport team by three.”

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Dagenham resident and pensioner Pam Barratt said she prefers not to travel on public transport alone because she feels vulnerable: “Over the years the buses and trains have become less safe. I wish they would bring back conductors on the buses - they always made me feel a lot more secure. It was silly to take them away.”