BOBBES ON BUSES; CRIME: Uniformed officers to 'ride shotgun' in crackdown on nuisance passengers.
POLICE officers are to ride shotgun on Stagecoach buses serving Nuneaton and Bedworth to clamp down on nuisance youths and antisocial behaviour.
Uniformed officers will be allowed on to public transport as they travel around the borough, carrying out their duties by showing their warrant cards to bus drivers.
The innovation of bobbies on the buses - in a hop-on, hop-off strategy - is being seen as a way of making the public feel more secure.
Stagecoach and Travel De Courcey are among bus companies which have agreed to ferry police and community support officers along their routes in the borough.
The announcement comes after a 16-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by a fellow passenger as she travelled on a No 6 Stagecoach bus in Bedworth.
Other passengers were unaware of the assault taking place at the back of the bus.
It is hoped that seeing uniformed officers on and around bus routes will make the public feel safer, increase the security of people who use the buses and help to reduce any incidents of nuisance and antisocial behaviour.
Chief Inspector Pete Blackburn, the Nuneaton-based district police commander, said: "I am grateful to the companies involved for their support and our local crime and disorder partnership for making this innovative idea become a reality.
"This will help Warwickshire police protect the public from harm more flexibly, reduce crime and increase public reassurance."
Former Nuneaton and Bedworth mayor Bob Hicks, now a county councillor and chairman of the Nuneaton and Bedworth Crime and Disorder Partnership, said: "We are continually looking for ways to improve public safety and to reduce the fear of crime.
"The visibility of police officers and police community support officers on the buses is extremely important in making people feel safer and will allow more interaction between the police and the public."
ASSURANCE... Chief Insp Pete Blackburn hopes the public will feel safer on buses such as Stagecoach.; SAFER ON BUSES... Cllr Bob Hicks.