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Friday, May 09, 2008

Woman attacked on Central Line

Police Woman on tube at Piccadilly Circus StationJust heard on Heart FM radio that the Police are looking for two men in connection with the attack of a woman last night on a Central Line carriage between Lancaster Gate and Queensway. The woman in her 20's was seriously assaulted at around 8.30pm. Doubtless more news of this will follow as internet news agencies get hold of the story. But in the meantime, if you saw anything please contact the police.

Obviously, this is awful for the poor woman who was attacked but good timing for Boris Johnson and the Government, as yesterday they both introduced plans to cut down crime & anti social behaviour on public transport. The Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith said: "I also understand people's concerns about anti-social behaviour on public transport. Working with passengers, transport staff and operators, Ruth Kelly and I will take action to answer these concerns.

"We want to stamp out ASB (anti social behaviour) on our buses, trains and trams. If more powers are needed to protect staff and the travelling public, we will provide them."

As Andrew Sparrow from The Guardian said of the Government's statement yesterday, "I may be wrong, but it looks like a last-minute addition inserted to show that Boris isn't the only politician concerned about yobs on buses."

The Home Secretary's speech with the ironically yobbish title "Anti Social Behaviour - We're not Having it" can be read in full here.

Andrew Sparrow said that Home Office's announcement "is not directly comparable. But it does show that, on the subject of unruly teenagers, the government does have something to say."

As Boris Johnson announced the ban on alcohol on all of London's public transport, questions were raised about the feasibility of the ban. The RMT union described the policy as "impractical", and admitted that their members suffer violence at the hands of drunk passengers.

RMT Leader Bob Crow said "We are in favour of any measure that will make our members' lives safer and curb anti-social behaviour, but it appears that this really hasn't been thought through very well and could well make matters worse. We are being told that it will be our members who will have to approach people drinking and ask them to stop - but the mayor hasn't asked us what we think."

For more on the RMT's thoughts about the alcohol ban, please see my earlier post below.

Update - I've just been sent an email to another attack to a woman on the Central Line. D Metcalfe wrote "Is it possible there were two recent violence incidents on the Central Line or is this story the one you mentioned?

If so these facts seem quite different from yours and - to me - much more troublesome. If this news story is accurate I'm simply amazed that a car load of Brits could sit/stand by and not intercede on behalf of this mother and daughter. Simply unbelievable. What has happened to the culture of so-called "civilised" folk that they would allow such an assault to take place? And not help? Or speak up afterwards as witnesses?
"

It's possible that Heart FM got the dates and locations on the Central Line wrong, but that's unlikely, so it sounds like these are two separate instances.

D continues "But I'm mad that my favorite form of transport was so badly besmirched. I've ridden that line a couple of time at about that time of day. And I'm a 77 year old Yank that as a kid rode street cars in Los Angeles during the "zoot suit" wars, so I couldn't have kept myself from butting in if I'd been in that car the other night. Just makes my blood boil."

Sadly D as I mentioned in the comments here you are in a minority when it comes to standing up to violence on the Tube. More police with real powers are needed and not just a simple crack down on alcohol on public transport. How you can instill a culture of people caring about their fellow commuters is way beyond me, and as much as I hate to say it, it sounds like there may have been some racism involved in this second attack.


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