Havering bus drivers attacked or verbally abused almost 150 times in last five years

Roger Evans

Roger Evans - Credit: Archant

Bus drivers in Havering have been attacked or verbally abused 122 times in the last five years.

There have been 52 physical assaults on bus drivers and 70 cases of verbal abuse recorded, figures from TfL show.

The highest number of incidents occurred in 2013/14 – with 17 physical and 28 verbal attacks, the data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request reveals.

There were also 181 incidents of physical or verbal abuse in neighbouring borough Redbridge over the same time period, the figures show.

Roger Evans, chairman of the London Assembly and Conservative member for Havering and Redbridge, said: “These numbers look extremely high.

“When you look at what bus drivers have said to us, a lot of incidents don’t get reported – what we are seeing here is a bare minimum.”

In August this year, the Recorder reported that 23-year-old Jayden Nicholas, of Barking Road, Newham, had been given a suspended sentence after smashing through a screen and grabbing a bus driver by the throat.

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He had became abusive on the 287 bus in Rainham in April after his invalid ticket was not accepted.

Mr Evans submitted a Freedom of Information request earlier this year which revealed approximately four bus drivers were physically or verbally attacked every day in London during the last three years.

He said: “What we are asking for is better policing on buses. We would like to see more undercover policing and more high-profile prosecutions to discourage people from being abusive to bus drivers.”

A spokesman for TfL said: “TfL and its policing partners are committed to ensuring the bus network remains a safe place for staff and passengers.

“We make significant investments in transport policing and community safety initiatives to ensure the bus network remains a safe, low-crime environment for passengers, staff and local communities.

“As a result, bus-related crime is now at a record low.”