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Bus Watch

Bus Watch was created by PCSO John Poulton in September 2013 in Richmond Borough with the aim of introducing the concept of neighbourhood watch that most people are familiar with onto the transport network. It is the only scheme of its kind in the Met Police. In essence the birth of Bus Watch came from John’s vision of wanting to create a safer travel experience for everyone.

In order to make the scheme work there are no coordinators like there are in a neighbourhood watch. Instead everyone who wants to join can become a member of the Bus Watch. Anyone can join but ideally we are looking for people who travel on the buses within the Borough or those who live along bus routes, particularly near bus stops.

The idea is that members who travel on the buses report things they see directly to John (via e-mail). This would be the type of incident that wouldn’t require a police response (i.e. not a crime) but at the same time makes passengers feel uncomfortable e.g. anti-social behaviour such as rowdy behaviour, or someone who acts suspiciously or strangely but doesn’t actually do anything. It’s similar to neighbourhood watch members reporting kids drinking in parks or someone acting strangely in their road, just the behaviour is on the bus or at a bus stop.

The police ask members to report what has happened, the route it happened on, direction of travel, rough location and when it happened. This allows them to build up a picture of when and where and on what routes problems are happening and can then target patrols accordingly to make travelling on those routes safer for everyone. For those that live near bus stops it similarly allows for identification of any particular stops which may be causing problems for those residing in close proximity to them.

In return, members receive a monthly newsletter. This informs members of what types of incidents have been occurring and on which routes as well as updating members on the work that the Safer Transport Team have been doing that month, along with providing travel-related crime prevention advice and information for members to be on the look out for while out and about.

PCSO John Poulton ran the scheme from its inception until November 2014, when he was transferred to Hounslow borough. He has handed the reins over to PCSO Charlotte Peace, who will be continuing the scheme on from the new year. Charlotte can be contacted on

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