Rail police bring in text message alerts

Train pasengers can now text British Transport Police with non-urgent calls
Train pasengers can now text British Transport Police with non-urgent calls

Train travellers in Mid Sussex are now able to text messages to alert rail police to incidents.

British Transport Police has launched a new non-emergency text number for passengers.

The new text short code, 61016, will give passengers another way to report incidents quickly wherever there is a mobile phone signal.

The transport police say the number is designed to capture low level, non-emergency incidents, similar to the non-emergency 101 phone number used by local forces.

The 61016 text number will be monitored constantly and the transport police say that whilst it is not for reporting emergencies, there will be the capacity to send an officer if required. It is available nationally.

By creating a text capability the transport police hope passengers will be more likely to report incidents, such as anti-social behaviour, giving police a better understanding of the nature, number, time and location of incidents which would previously have gone unreported.

They say that 4,746 incidents were reported to them in Brighton and the surrounding area between January 1 2012 and December 31 2012.

Inspector Gary Ancell, based at Brighton rail station, said: “BTP aims to be as open and responsive as possible and this is the next logical step for us. Text messaging is a quick and everyday way to communicate and passengers want to be able contact us this way. By encouraging passengers to also report incidents via text, we hope we will get a more complete picture of the sort of low level but all too common incidents that affect people’s journeys across the network. However, text messages should never be sent in an emergency situation as there are no guarantees that they send correctly or are received promptly.”