ScotRail booze ban sees alcohol crimes double

Alcohol-related crimes have nearly doubled to 240 since ScotRail introduced a night-time booze ban last July, the train operator revealed today.

Rail passengers at Edinburgh's Waverely Station. Alcohol-related crimes have doubled since ScotRail's introduction of a booze ban. Picture: Ian Georgeson

• Alcohol-related crimes nearly double since night-time booze ban

• 240 arrests made compared to 129 last year

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

• Alcohol has been banned on ScotRail services after 9pm since last July

The total for the year to the end of last month compares to 129 offences last year.

ScotRail said stronger enforcement by British Transport Police (BTP) plus higher levels of customer and staff reporting had led to more arrests.

Alochol was banned from trains after 9pm, which ScotRail said was backed by the vast majority of passengers.

Managing director Steve Montgomery said: “We expected to see a rise in arrests, and this is borne out in these figures.

“The message is clear. There will be repercussions for the small minority who flout the ban and behave in an anti-social manner due to excess alcohol.”

Liz Cameron, chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “With record numbers of passengers using Scotland’s railways, we welcome the fact that ScotRail and British Transport Police are cracking down on alcohol-related behaviour on late evening services.

“Rail is an essential transport option for businesses and their employees, and if more people are to use public transport then it must provide an attractive and safe environment in which to travel.

“ScotRail is to be congratulated on its policy, which will give confidence to passengers to report incidents, and the seriousness with which British Transport Police are taking this ought to lead to a reduction in offences

as wrongdoers learn that this will not be tolerated.”

BTP Scotland area Chief Superintendent Ellie Bird said there had been an increase in the number of incidents reported by passengers and ScotRail staff, who were now more confident about when and how they should alert police.

She said: “Since 2003-04, the number of anti-social behaviour offences, whether alcohol-related or not, has fallen by 56 per cent.

“During the same period, all recorded crime has been reduced by 49 per cent as passenger numbers have increased by 36 per cent.”