More than 330 assaults and 190 thefts reported on Havering buses since start of 2017

The 86 bus travels from Stratford, through Ilford to Romford and back again. Picture: Sean Quinn/Wik

The 86 bus travels from Stratford, through Ilford to Romford and back again. Picture: Sean Quinn/Wikimedia Commons - Credit: Archant

There have been 725 criminal offences – ranging from vandalism to sexual assault – recorded on buses in Havering since the start of 2017, the Recorder can reveal.

A Freedom of Information request (FOI) to the Metropolitan Police revealed the number of bus-related crimes recorded in the borough since 2017.

The Met defines bus-related crime as "offences occurring on buses, at bus stops, at bus garages/ terminuses and those offences happening near them or were instigated because of the network infrastructure".

Offences have included 64 instances of criminal damage, five drugs offences, 72 robberies, 45 sexual offences, 190 thefts and 332 instances of violence against the person.

Most categories have seen numbers fall since 2017.

However, the figures for Redbridge do reveal that the number of robberies committed on buses in the borough is rising.

Nineteen were recorded in 2017, but this rose to 32 in 2018 and was already up to 21 again by the end of June this year.

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There have also already been 50 reports of theft on buses logged in 2019 - meaning the 70 thefts recorded in both 2017 and 2018 will most likely be exceeded.

The number of offences annually is recorded as 304 taking place in 2017, 276 in 2018 and 145 recorded up to June 30 this year for a total of 725 offences.

But Havering actually compares favourably to neighbouring borough Redbridge, where 920 offences were recorded in the same two-and-a-half-year period.

Transport for London (TfL) pays for more than 2,500 police officers - drawn from the Met (MPS), the British Transport Police and the City of London Police - to patrol the capital's transport networks and tackle crime and antisocial behaviour.

A TfL spokesman added: "We significantly fund a dedicated unit with the MPS called the MPS Roads and Transport Policing Command (RTPC).

"The RTPC is currently the largest police command in the UK; made up of over 2,300 officers who work to ensure all journeys across the road and surface transport network are safe, secure and reliable."

The methods the Metropolitan Police use to target bus-related crimes were in the news earlier this month after a man was jailed for three and a half years after being convicted of two sexual assaults on buses in south east London in the space of an hour.

Speaking after that sentencing, the RTPC's Det Con Darren Barlow, who led the investigation, said: "I hope that this result shows how hard officers in the Roads and Transport Command work to identify people who commit predatory offences on London's transport network.

"As always, we continue to urge the travelling public to be vigilant and look out for each other, and report any offences or anything suspicious to police right away by calling 999 or 101 - you can also speak to the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."