St Mary's Church, Thame
By Haddenham Webteam - 27th July 2016 9:00am
A hard-hitting video highlighting the dangers of trespassing on rail tracks has been released.
British Transport Police (BTP) has produced a film showing 10 separate real life incidents, including near misses where youngsters have failed to heed warnings about the dangers.
The video was created to urge parents to speak to their children about the dangers of the railways, after figures revealed youngsters are twice as likely to trespass on lines over summer compared with winter.
Longer evenings, coupled with the start of the holidays, spell danger for Britain's youth as UK statistics show trespass doubles in August compared to December.
In 2015, there were 60 reports of trespass across the region during the summer, resulting in 2086 minutes of delays to passengers.
This summer, British Transport Police and Network Rail are urging parents to warn their children of the dangers of playing on the tracks.
Over the past 10 years, almost 170 young people in the UK have lost their lives after trespassing on the railway. The data shows that just under half of those killed are under the age of 25.
Steve Melanophy, Community Safety Manager for Network Rail, explains: "We are urging parents to remind their children that if they are on the railway, they are on dangerous ground. It may seem like a good idea to take a shortcut, or like fun to play on the tracks, but this is not only illegal, it is also dangerous.
"Britain has the safest railway in Europe but still too many people lose their lives on the tracks. As the railway gets busier and we electrify more lines to improve services, we must work harder to keep young people safe by making them aware of the dangers that exist. Taking a short cut or messing around on the tracks can result in serious life-changing injuries or death."
- 72% of all trespassers who died over the last 10 years were struck by a train
- Another 17% were electrocuted
- The others fell from structures or trains
- Most trespassers highlight taking a short cut (42%) as their main motivation for committing the crime, followed by thrill-seeking (19%)
In response to the seasonal surge in incidents, officers from British Transport Police are stepping up patrols.
BTP's Inspector Paul Martin said: "The last thing our officers want to do is knock on someone's door to tell a parent their child has been killed or seriously injured as a result of trespassing.
"We're doing all we can to keep children safe by patrolling areas where we know they're likely to trespass and prevent them from doing so. However, we cover many thousands of miles of track and we cannot tackle this issue alone.
"That is why we are urging parents and young people to heed this warning and take a reality check when it comes to trespass. It's not a game: they are real tracks, with real trains and real life consequences."
See the video here
Image credit: Geoff Plumb