Nexus staff have joined with the police for a major operation to deal with trouble-makers on the Tyne and Wear Metro network.
Northumbria Police led the operation with Metro operator Nexus, local councils and British Transport Police to make travelling a safer and happier experience.
Operation Hermes was a two-day-long dynamic operation that saw officers and staff patrolling across the Metro system to protect and educate passengers.
A wide range of tactics were deployed during the operation, including the use of archway knife detectors and wands, undercover work and outreach.
Plain clothed police officers have been travelling Metro lines keeping a watchful eye on those who seek to cause disorder.
Officers were also there to engage and educate and deal with vulnerability and conduct outreach work to steer young people away from using Metro stations as a social gathering hubs.
Chief Inspector Ron Charlton, who led the operation, said: “In the past month officers have noticed a spike in reports of anti-social behaviour and crime on Metro services and at stations.
“Post lockdown, stations and services have become a popular haunt for youths and we’re working with partners to address issues and discourage people from seeing stations as a meeting hub.
“Instead we want to encourage more people to make use of our fabulous and inclusive metro line and offer them assurances that police and partners are doing all we can to make our metro a safe and enjoyable option for all users, whether they’re daily commuters, occasional travellers or tourists.”
He added: “We want our local metro to thrive and this operation re-iterates our commitment to keeping metro users safe.”
The two-day-long crackdown, on 27-28 August, saw officers, Nexus staff and representatives of all five local councils stationed at various stations and with an increased presence on board the trains.
Chief Operating Officer at Nexus, Martin Kearney, said: “Anti-social behaviour won’t be tolerated on the Metro system and we are working with the police to tackle this issue.
“Extra police and staff are on patrol to deal with any issued and provide customers with reassurance as they travel on the network. We also have plain clothed police operating on system through this large-scale operation.
“Nexus invests £1m a year on policing the system and we have an excellent joint working relationship with the Northumbria Force.
“Overall crime on Metro remains low but we are working hard to tackle low level issues of bad behaviour and fare evasion which can drift on to the system in suburban areas.
“Anyone who gets caught causing trouble on Metro faces arrest and prosecution through the courts and a possible ban from travelling.”