Specialist ‘Operation Venture’ team to tackle violent crime on region’s transport network

GMP Metrolink

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) is working alongside with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), and its operators, as part of the TravelSafe Partnership (TSP) to tackle knife crime and reassure the public.

In the light of recent knife-related incidents on the transport network, GMP have stepped up their policing response, with support from TSP, to demonstrate that violence of any kind will not be tolerated.

Following a series of knife-point robberies at the tram stop in Failsworth, three male youths were arrested and subsequently charged on 10th January 2023.

Another recent incident saw a 34-year-old man stabbed at the Market Street Metrolink stop in Manchester on Sunday 8th January. His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening, and enquiries are ongoing.

A variety of tactics are used to detect and deter all crime and anti-social behaviour. These include the use of specialist resources such as knife arches, handheld metal detectors, dog units and drones, which are regularly deployed across the network.

Last month, GMP also established Operation Venture, a new team of full-time, specially selected, and ‘ring-fenced’ officers who are solely focused on violent crime and serious criminality. They will be out targeting individuals and groups, including on public transport.

Chief Superintendent Mark Dexter said in a statement published on 12th January, 2023:

“We’ve seen a number of knife crime related incidents including a series of knife point robberies on the public transport network. Thankfully these incidences are relatively speaking quite rare however they understandably cause a great deal of concern when they do occur.

“What I would like to say is that tackling knife crime is a priority for GMP and TSP. We have a dedicated transport unit who patrol the transport network and undertake numerous operations to detect and deter offenders and keep you safe.

“In December alone the GMP Transport Unit, who regularly patrol the network in plain clothes, made 12 arrests for carrying knives across the transport network.

“If you are carrying a knife, I have only one message: we will catch you. GMP take a zero-tolerance approach to carrying weapons and anyone found in possession of a bladed article will be arrested.

“Whilst policing has an important part to play in tackling knife crime, we cannot however enforce our way out of the problem.

“GMP is committed to working with our partners through the TravelSafe Partnership and the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) to address the issues faced.”

“The VRU carry out a lot of education work in schools across Greater Manchester, teaching children about the dangers associated with carrying knives.

“Our communities need to come together to help defeat knife crime. If you have children, or you know of anyone who is going out carrying knives please challenge that behaviour and educate them on the risks of carrying a knife.

“Finally, if you do see an incident on the transport network – or something doesn’t feel right – please report it to us and we’ll handle it. There’s numerous ways that you can make a report either via our website or calling 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency.

Vernon Everitt, Transport Commissioner for Greater Manchester, added:

“The safety of those who use public transport is of paramount importance to us. We condemn such behaviour in the strongest possible terms, and the TravelSafe Partnership will continue to work collaboratively to ensure the people responsible are identified and held accountable.

“The Partnership will continue to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour in all its forms by providing a visible presence during weekly special operations, supported by control rooms which operate 24/7 monitor feed from more than 3,800 CCTV cameras across the network.”

If you carry a knife or weapon, you are urged to surrender it at one of the thirteen Forever Amnesty bins located across Greater Manchester. You can find the location of your nearest bin here.

To discreetly report any incidents of crime or antisocial behaviour on public transport, use the GMP LiveChat service here: TravelSafe – Report via Livechat | Greater Manchester Police (gmp.police.uk).

Page last updated at 0940hrs on Friday 13th January, 2023.

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Photo credit: GMP

© Neil Wilby 2015-2023. Unauthorised use, or reproduction, of the material contained in this article, without permission from the author, is strictly prohibited. Extracts from, and links to, the article (or blog) may be used, provided that credit is given to Neil Wilby, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Published by Neil Wilby

Former Johnston Press area managing director. Justice campaigner. Freelance investigative journalist.

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