Crime on London’s nightly underground services has increased by almost a third compared to last year, a new report by the Greater London Authority has revealed.
Cases of violence, sexual offences and theft on the so-called Night Tube rose by 32% from 2018 –from 208 to 275 offences – according to Conservative London Assembly member Susan Hall, who uncovered the figures through a mayoral question.
Reports of sexual assault rose by 10% compared to last year, going up from 56 to 62 cases, while thefts grew by 50%, leaping from 305 to 452 offences.
On average, crimes went up 27%, with 970 registered offences compared to 762 in 2018. Overall, offences on the Night Tube made up 6% of all crime on the underground in 2019, the report found.
Commenting on the results, Hall said the increase in crime was due to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s “complacent attitude to tackling crime”.
Hall blamed the Mayor for “squandering Boris’s [Johnson, former Mayor of London] golden legacy” by not taking serious steps to keep the service safe.
“Sadiq Khan’s crime epidemic continues to impact on people’s lives in new and worrying ways,” she added. “It is clear that criminals are increasingly moving underground to commit heinous crimes such as theft and sexual assault.”
In response, the Mayor said that Transport for London (TfL), the body responsible for running public transport in the capital, was working closely with the Metropolitan Police and British Transport Police to improve passenger safety.
Khan said: “The London Underground remains a safe, low-crime network, with very few people ever witnessing or experiencing crime.
“All tube stations that are open through the night are staffed at all times and TfL has invested in 100 additional transport police officers who are dedicated to policing the Night Tube.
“Through major campaigns like ‘Report it to stop it’, TfL are also putting an unprecedented focus on tackling unwanted sexual behaviour on London’s public transport, encouraging thousands more victims to come forward and report offences.”
A spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office said the rise was due to an increase in pickpocketing, while more crimes are being reported to the British Transport Police via text and online services.
The Night Tube has been in operation for three years, with the first line opened in August 2016. Trains now run on the Victoria, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Central lines on Friday and Saturday nights.
Given that nearly “three-quarters of a million journeys have been made on the Central and Victoria line Night Tube services since their launch,” according to the Mayor’s Office, tackling crime is increasingly important.
However, the Night Tube is only one of many public transport services to recently witness an escalation in crime, which has increased in several other networks throughout the country.
In figures released by the British Transport Police in September 2019, cases of sexual assault on the underground have seen a 42% increase over the last four years.
The figures also revealed an annual increase in drug possession by 52% on Britain’s railways.