TRANSPORT Police in South Wales have new equipment to help tackle antisocial behaviour and crime on the railways.
Officers were last month presented with 17 new body-worn video (BWV) cameras, by Mark Langman, Network Rail's Wales route managing director.
The cameras will be distributed throughout neigh- bourhood policing teams (NPTs) in South Wales, including Swansea.
Inspector Mike Edwards, who is in charge of British Transport Police's Welsh NPTs, said: "The cameras will be used daily to reduce crime on the railway, to act as a robust deterrent, to detect crime and to prosecute more people efficiently.
"Additionally,'' he added, ''due to the presence of the cameras, members of the public see the BWV and often comment on them.
"All the evidence has shown they result in officers spending less time in court and on paperwork, and more time out in the community.
"Also, they are able to use recorded video film as evidence and the cameras as a key teaching tool, as well as resources to aid community engagement."
BWV footage has been used to provide stronger evidence in court which, in turn, is said to increase guilty pleas and help secure stronger sentences. Video footage can also be used in media appeals to identify suspects
Mr Edwards added: "They act as an excellent deterrent — often they improve the behaviour of individuals who may otherwise partake in anti-social behaviour; knowing they are being filmed somewhat deters the majority of offenders.
"In addition, BWV have been used at railway-related fatalities for mapping out the scene and taking first accounts from eye-witnesses and train crew. This makes the process of getting the rail network back to normal, running much quicker and easier."
The cameras are also being used at cable and metal theft sites and video footage of the damage is helping to facilitate the repair process. They have also helped officers to identify possible suspects, improving crime-related intelligence.
The Swansea NPT covers all mainline stations between Swansea and Bridgend, as well as all stations west of Swansea as far as Milford Haven and Fishguard.
Mark Langman said: "We are committed to improving safety for passengers using rail services and to reducing the cost of running the railway caused by crime."