Bus drivers throughout the country are to work more closely with the police to report incidents and build up a picture of problematic bus stops and routes, the AD says on Wednesday.
Bus drivers in Zuid-Holland, Gelderland, Overijssel and Flevoland are already working with the police to analyse risks but the practice is to be spread nationwide, the paper says.
‘We share information with drivers about wanted or missing people,’ police spokesman Anton Jansen said. ‘Drivers know their routes well and notice things that stand out. And as the police, we can benefit from that.’
Public transport firms currently involved in talking to the police have a fixed point of contact and police are able to access security cameras extremely quickly. ‘This approach is proving a great success which is why we are rolling it out nationwide,’ Jansen said.
‘For example, if we pick someone up for a burglary, we don’t know if they also cause problems on public transport,’ Jansen told the AD. ‘But the shared database gives us the information… and that allows courts to impose a more effective punishment.’
Violence on public transport is currently a major issue in the Netherlands and tram, train and bus drivers have downed tools on several occasions in support of colleagues who have been attacked.
Public transport companies are also moving away from allowing passengers to pay with cash, to minimise the risk of robberies.
VU University researcher Ronald van Steden says in Wednesday’s Telegraaf that the number of attacks on drivers has not gone up in recent years but the level of violence involved has increased.
He was asked by parliament to look into the issue of violence on public transport. Last year there were almost 10,000 reported incidents and several hundred of them involved robbery and physical attacks, he said.
Ministers have already increased police and camera surveillance at stations and doubled staff numbers on night trains in an effort to reduce the number of attacks.
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