A DEDICATED police officer has been appointed to Edinburgh’s trams and buses in a city-wide first.
Transport chiefs said the move, which is a joint initiative between Police Scotland and Transport for Edinburgh, was part of a wider community safety and crime prevention drive.
But bosses insisted the new role was not directly linked to a rise in antisocial behaviour on board services.
The job will see Pc Julie Cochrane become the first port of call for any crimes carried out by passengers – acting as the go-between for police and transport authorities.
Other duties will include going out into the community and talking to schools and groups about safety, as well as training staff on how to effectively manage antisocial behaviour.
Sarah Boyd, head of operations at Lothian Buses, said the move was “key to developing a closer working relationship between our company and Police Scotland, and also with the communities in which we operate”.
She said: “We operate 70 services all across Edinburgh and the Lothians and hundreds of thousands of passengers travel safely with us every week.
“This partnership is about ensuring that passengers continue to feel as safe as possible as they wait for their bus and when they travel.
“Pc Cochrane will be working with staff across the company to provide support and advice on how best to handle difficult situations and how best to report and prevent crime and anti-social behaviour. We’re delighted to be working with Police Scotland. We share the same values around community safety and I’m confident that our work together will benefit our staff and our customers.”
PC Cochrane said she was “delighted” to be taking on the job and looking forward to listening to and addressing staff and passenger concerns.
City police boss Chief Superintendent Mark Williams, meanwhile, insisted the creation of the role was a “hugely positive step in ensuring commuters can travel safely right across the network”.
He said: “Edinburgh’s public transport network is one of the best in the country and it provides a vital service across the Capital for thousands of residents and visitors every day. Thanks to this fantastic new partnership, the city now has a dedicated police resource to support our combined efforts to tackle antisocial and other criminal behaviour on public transport.”
Michael Powell, safety manager at Edinburgh Trams, said: “Passenger safety sits at the heart of everything we do – it’s an integral part of training and daily working life.”