2nd Jul, 2022

Police clamping down on passengers who refuse to wear facemasks

Andy Morris 9th Jul, 2020 Updated: 10th Jul, 2020

A STRICT police clampdown on public transport passengers who refuse to wear face masks has been launched in the West Midlands.

The operation follows the government announcement that from June 15 the use of face coverings is now compulsory on all public transport journeys.

Since then, police have used the ‘four Es’ approach – engage, explain, educate and enforce – when talking to passengers.

But following an initial adjustment period, Safer Travel – a collaboration between West Midlands Police, British Transport Police and Transport for West Midlands – has decided to adopt a stricter approach.

Passengers who refuse to wear a face covering after being asked are now being directed to leave the transport and face receiving a Fixed Penalty Notice.

Since the new approach was adopted on June 29, the team has directed 533 passengers to leave a bus, train or metro.

Of those, three Fixed Penalty Notices have been issued, and one passenger has been arrested.

The clampdown has been timed to coincide with the launch of a new app available to police officers on their mobile devices which enables them to record the information of passengers who have been directed to leave the vehicle or received a Fixed Penalty Notice.

This allows officers to identify any repeat offenders and respond appropriately, whether by providing a mask from a supply donated by National Express, or by issuing a fine.

The teams receive daily intelligence from a variety of sources including transport operators, CCTV control rooms and Transport for West Midlands. The data includes locations, routes, stops or stations that are receiving the lowest compliance in the use of face coverings.

This information is helping Safer Travel to target patrols in problem routes or areas, with additional support from National Express staff.

Sgt Fergal Sharkey from the Safer Travel team said: “The majority of people are complying, which is great. We are grateful to those wearing face coverings and helping to keep everyone safe.”

Visit the Safer Travel website www.safertravel.info and complete the online form to report passengers who are not wearing face coverings.

Visit www.networkwestmidlands.com/plan-your-journey/network-overview for advice on safe travelling.

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