British Transport Police (BTP) officers will be out at stations and on trains across London this week, as part of a drive to tackle theft and pickpocketing.
Operation Farrier will see more than 100 officers each day – uniformed and plain clothed – targeting would-be pickpockets and thieves from stealing from passengers using the rail network in London.
They’ll be spotting suspicious behaviour, carrying out arrests on outstanding suspects and offering advice to passengers on how to avoid the most popular pickpocketing techniques and to look after their belongings.
Superintendent Lisa Garrett, silver commander for the operation, said: “Throughout the year, we work tirelessly to prevent pickpocketing and thefts but at this time of year when there are more visitors to London, we see a rise of these types of offences.
“So as part of our continued efforts, this week will hundreds of officers – both uniformed and plain clothed – across the TfL and rail network, talking to passengers and helping to spot and deter offenders.
“We’re lucky to work in an environment full of CCTV and so our message to any would-be thieves is that we see you and we will catch you.”
Officers will be giving advice to passengers about some of the top tactics used by pickpockets.
The “concealed hand” – the thief conceals their hand using a newspaper or item of clothing and dips into the person’s belongings when they’re not looking.
- The “distraction” – thieves work in pairs and while one distracts the person, possibly asking for directions, another takes their belongings.
- The “stall” – one thief blocks a person or delays them getting through a barrier or into a packed carriage, whilst an accomplice takes their belongings.
Supt Garrett said: “We want people to be aware of how pickpockets work and just how quickly these offences take place – so it’s our job to tell you about the tactics we see used time and time again and encourage people to be more aware and protective of their personal property. And while doing that, we’ll be working hard to stop these offences taking place in the first place. If anyone ever needs to report an offence, please text us on 61016.”
Sean Conroy, Senior Policing Manager at Transport for London, said: “We have seen an increase in theft offences on public transport and we are determined to tackle this. By working with the police and targeting thieves through uniformed and plain clothes police patrols, we plan to disrupt and deter their activity, to keep the transport network safe. We’d like to remind all customers to keep an eye on their belongings and keep bags and rucksacks closed.”
To find out more about the tactics employed by thieves, visit btp.police.uk/theft.