Op Hay

Youngsters learn about safer travel on the bus with Operation Hay

School children have been getting extra lessons about safe and considerate travel on the buses.

Using a double decker bus provided by the Green Bus company, which operates many school services around the West Midlands, Year 7 pupils were put through a variety of role-play scenarios where they had to identify what they thought could be classed as ASB and the effects it had on them, other passengers.

They also met National Express West Midlands bus driver Pete Rivers, who talked to them about his job and what it is like to be on the receiving end of abusive behaviour from unruly passengers.

Operation Hay is a Safer Travel Partnership operation which is run at the start of the new school year and after the Christmas holiday.

In September it focuses on bus routes running near high schools, where youngsters are taught about what constitutes anti-social behaviour (ASB) on and off the bus.

Police officers and ASB workers from the partnership are visiting six schools in Birmingham and Solihull and plan to speak to more than 1,300 Year 7 and 8 pupils throughout the first two weeks of September.

Reg New, Anti Social Behaviour co-ordinator for Safer Travel, said: “Very often anti-social behaviour can just be a result of natural high-spirits.

“Youngsters may not realise they are upsetting other passengers so the role-play scenarios help them understand this.

“They also show how more blatant forms of ASB such as rowdy behaviour, swearing, smoking and graffiti disrupt and affect the safety of other passengers and the bus driver.”

Operation Hay plans to visit the following schools:

  • John Wilmott School, Sutton Coldfield
  • Archbishop Ilsley School, Acocks Green, Birmingham
  • The International School, Tile Cross, Birmingham
  • St Thomas Aquinas RC School, Kings Norton, Birmingham
  • St Peter’s RC School, Solihull
  • Fairfax School, Sutton Coldfield

As well as ASB, Operation Hay sees pupils advised over personal safety and encouraged to register electronic items such as mobile phones.

They are also informed about the Youth See Something Say Something service, which provides resources to West Midlands schools and encourages pupils to report anti-social behaviour anonymously to the Partnership.

The information sent helps police pinpoint nuisance behaviour hotspots and take appropriate action including undercover operations.

Where perpetrators are identified ASB Officers take appropriate action, often in conjunction with the school

Passengers can also use the See Something Say Something service by texting ‘bus’, ‘metro’ or ‘rail’ followed by a space and then details of the incident including time, date, location and route number to 83010.

The Safer Travel Partnership is comprised of Centro, the region’s public transport co-ordinator, West Midlands Police, British Transport Police and transport operators.

Cllr Kath Hartley, vice chair of Centro and chair of its Putting Passengers First committee, said: “It is great to see children learning how they can play their part in keeping public transport safe and pleasant for all.

“For some passengers anti-social behaviour is simply annoying but for others it can lead to an unfounded fear of crime.

“We need to create an environment in which all passengers feel safe and in doing so we will encourage more people on to public transport.”

Picture: Year 7 pupils Paige Doyle, left, Luke Thrupp, and Dejanique Clarke, all aged 11, of John Wilmott School in Sutton Coldfield, with PCSO Terry Court of the Safer Travel Team.

Press realease by Centro. Date 04.09.2014