15 Jul 2016
A PCSO is helping to drive a link-up on Stagecoach bus services in the Chesterfield area as part of an initiative to ensure safer travel for customers and drivers.
It is part of Operation Routemaster, which was brought in last year to bring together officers from the Safer Neighbourhood policing teams, Stagecoach, workers unions and Derbyshire County Council.
The aim behind the ongoing campaign is to make bus journeys pleasant and safe for customers, prevent fare dodging or ticket misuse, identify and target problem parking on bus routes and forge a closer relationship between the local police and bus drivers.
Officers from the local Safer Neighbourhood policing teams are including bus travel as part of their patrols, and drivers are being encouraged to report incidents such as damage, anti-social behaviour or ticket misuse.
PCSO Becky Damms, who covers the Newbold, Brockwell, Dunston, Whittington Moor and St. Helen’s areas, regularly calls in to the depot to speak to drivers and staff, and feeds back to colleagues on other areas about any hotspot areas.
She said: “Myself and my colleagues from other Safer Neighbourhood policing teams in the Chesterfield area are riding the buses in our areas to provide a visible presence on services, and in addition I am also regularly dropping in at the depot to meet with drivers and find out if they are having any concerns or issues while they are out and about.
“If any issues are raised about specific routes or areas I can then feed that back to the relevant officers for that area. It has been working really well so far, I’ve been getting to know the staff there and I’ve had some positive comments from the drivers who say they value the policing presence.”
One of the areas they have been targeting has been on the 90 service which runs to Staveley, where the drivers have been struggling to get buses around due to parked cars.
PCSO Damms said: “I teamed up with PCSO Gareth Turner of the Brimington Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team and we spoke to residents and handed out leaflets to raise awareness of the issue and to encourage them to park considerately.
“Meetings are currently taking place with Derbyshire County Council to consider if there is anything which can be done in the long term to address the concerns, but we will be out again in the future to just remind residents about the difficulties buses might have in getting about the area.”
Other areas where drivers say they face similar issues are on the number 5 service through Newbold, in the Highfield Road area, and on the 25 service at Whittington, in the Station Road area, and officers from the Safer Neighbourhood policing teams will also be targeting those areas.