Dawn raid on bus yobs
A GANG of teenagers who ran riot on a Route 364 bus in Dagenham were rounded up by police last week in dawn swoop. The group of louts, some as young as 15, were caught on CCTV as they terrified passengers, one yob Karate kicked an innocent bystander in th
A GANG of teenagers who ran riot on a Route 364 bus in Dagenham were rounded up by police last week in dawn swoop.
The group of louts, some as young as 15, were caught on CCTV as they terrified passengers, one yob Karate kicked an innocent bystander in the head.
Even the driver was terrified as the teenagers pushed a passenger off the bus in Reede Road and kicked him while he lay defenceless on the ground.
Transport for London (TfL) immediately sent out pictures of the culprits to police teams in the borough, hoping someone would recognise them.
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PC Jo Bachelor of Alibon safer neighbourhood team was able to identify nearly all the youngsters as familiar faces from her patch.
She said: "I speak to these teenagers on a regular basis and knew them straight away.
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"It was great to be able to bring them to account for their antisocial behaviour because sometimes it can take time to identify people from CCTV stills."
Operation Download was set up to arrest all 13 youngsters involved in one day and charge them with public order offences.
Some of the gang who played a more central role in the attack may also be charged with affray.
Just after 6am on Thursday May 21 officers set out from Barking police station to round them up.
One of the youngsters who had stayed on the sidelines of the bus violence had a GCSE exam to attend that day and had to be arrested later.
Most of the teenagers, however, were detained by police and led away from their homes in handcuffs to be interviewed at the station.
The youngsters' mums were invited to come along so that officers could explain why their sons had been arrested.
Sgt Brain Fry, of the borough's safer transport team, said: "We will strive to ensure that passengers can travel safely without the threat of violence.
"Speaking to these children and their parents is a big part of that. It helps us understand the reasons behind their behaviour and helps the parents too."
Some of the older teenagers arrested last week had long criminal records, including spells inside prison.
Last week's operation was organised after the violence on the 364 bus on March 13.
It involved the Barking and Dagenham safer transport team, Alibon safer neighbourhood team, an intelligence unit called BusTag and TfL.
BusTag were set up in 2004 and since then arrests for criminal damage on buses has tripled.
Police and TfL want to send a message to anyone who thinks it is acceptable to behave antisocially on buses or trains - it will not be tolerated.
In total 10 arrests were made, one reprimand and six fines were issued for a section five public order offence.
One teenager was bailed to appear before court charged with affray and two cases were not proceeded with.