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Scouts to tackle railway crime as figures reveal staggering costs


• Figures reveal that railway crime adds over 20p to every journey made on UK railways

• The Scout Association partner with Serco to raise awareness of rail safety and responsibility amongst young people

• Secretary of State for Transport Geoff Hoon MP joins 30 Cub Scouts to launch the Personal Safety badge at St. Pancras International train station

• New Personal Safety Badge the most popular Scout programme available

Over 137,000 young people are to learn about the dangers and consequences of railway crime in a new campaign launched by The Scout Association and Serco today.

The new Cub Scout Personal Safety badge is being launched to educate young people, their families, and the wider community about the importance of safety at UK train stations, and the dangers of trespassing on the railway.

The announcement comes as it is revealed that railway crime adds a staggering 22p to every journey made on UK railways. Rail crime includes trespassing, vandalism, stone-throwing, obstructing the railway and endangering safety.

The rail industry spends over £260m every year on tackling rail crime including repairing damaged trains and tracks, replacing staff who have been shocked or injured, and in delays to trains. The financial impact for the rail users, who in total made just over 1.2bn journeys in 2007/8 is startling. The figures do not include lost income or measure the inconvenience that commuters suffer due to delays caused by vandalism.

According to British Transport Police, there were 13,623 offences of vandalism or trespassing recorded between 1 September 2007 and 31 August 2008 and many of the rail crime incidents have been caused by young people either carrying out criminal acts – or who are unaware of the dangers.

To launch the new badge programme, over 30 Cub Scouts met Geoff Hoon MP at St. Pancras International Train Station in London.

The badge has been updated with new and exciting curriculum material, and will address the issue of rail safety by encouraging peer-to-peer education amongst young people. Over 137,000 Cub Scouts between the ages of 8 and 10 will now be able to work towards achieving the badge.

A Personal Safety badge resources pack has been developed to help Cub Scout leaders demonstrate how to be safe and responsible on and around railways. The pack is endorsed by British Transport Police and includes a number of activities and information around:

• Understanding rail warning signs
• Electricity dangers on railway
• Reporting railway crime
• Personal safety while travelling by rail
• Planning a rail journey

The new badge materials will not only help young people to learn about the dangers and consequences of trespassing and vandalism, but importantly it will show them how to travel safely on our railways. The pack offers a unique opportunity to engage with train companies and the police at a ‘grass-roots level,’ and will address the victimless crime mentality often adopted by the young people committing the offences.

Over 42,000 Personal Safety badge resource packs have now been requested, making it the most popular Scout programme available.

Cub Scout leaders are being encouraged to contact their local British Transport Police Neighbourhood Policing Team or local train operating company with the possibility of gaining a tour of their local train station.

Another activity includes creating a sign that relates to rail safety, with the best design winning a trip to the National Railway Museum in York.

It is hoped that this initiative will build on the work that has already been undertaken by the rail industry to combat youth crime.

Jade Clapham, 9, a Cub Scout from the 100th St. Pancras Group, London, said: ‘It has been brilliant doing our Personal Safety badge! We have learnt loads of things about how to act safely on a train and about how to help other people. My favourite bit was when we went to see our local station and met the train driver!’

Nick Brown from Serco said, ‘Serco is thrilled to be working alongside The Scout Association in developing the new Personal Safety badge. Rail safety amongst young people is a hugely important issue for everyone who uses UK rail networks. A vast number of accidents can be reduced through educating young people about how to act around our railways, as well as the consequences of trespassing on tracks.

Secretary of State for Transport Geoff Hoon said, ‘The vast majority of passengers travel safely on our railways every day, but a small minority, young and old, act irresponsibly and can be a real danger to themselves and others. That is why I am delighted that the Scouts are spearheading this brilliant initiative to show over 100,000 young people how to travel safely by train, and to act in a responsible way when they visit their local train station.’


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