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Metrolink and bus network gets security boost with more than 70 new safety staff

Extra police and security teams will begin patrolling Metrolink and the region s buses next week as part of a passenger safety drive. The move comes after KeolisAmey take over the tram network from 2am on Saturday morning after RATP Dev Ltd lost its bid to remain at the helm. And bosses have unveiled plans to introduce 900 extra hours of security support a week with 24 new TravelSafe Officers (TSOs).

TravelSafe, a security team across buses and trams, will be supported by 50 new PCSOs from Monday . They will join a new police sergeant and four new police constables. It follows months of concerning reports of anti-social behaviour on public transport – including the incident in May where a driver was treated in hospital after a brick was thrown through his windscreen from a bridge in Oldham. Chief Supt John O Hare, from Greater Manchester Police, said: The introduction of the TravelSafe PCSOs enhances our existing team, which includes an inspector, sergeant and police constables.

He said the team would be dedicated to ensuring the safety of passengers and dealing with any incidents on the networks. Aline Frantzen, new MD of KeolisAmey Metrolink said one of their key commitments was to enhance safety and security to improve passenger experience. She said: We are looking forward to working with TfGM, our partners and the community to implement our exciting plans for what is already a high-performing network . Our approach will be focused on collaboratively working to keep Greater Manchester moving and growing.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said he was committed to making Greater Manchester s public transport the safest. He added: I promised to prioritise a greater staffing presence on our public transport in the evenings and early mornings and today we are delivering on that promise. The TravelSafe team uses intelligence and crime data to target patrols at key times and places.

Chief Supt John O’Hare

It s split into four units covering four geographical areas so they can get to grips with their communities. Transport bosses insist crime and anti-social behaviour is relatively rare on buses and trams, with 206m journeys made by bus and 37m by tram in 2016. Matt Kitchen, operations director for Stagecoach Manchester, said it was a great example of how operators, transport bosses and the police are working together to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.

He said safety was their priority . First Manchester s boss Adrian Worsfold agreed, adding: As a result of the TravelSafe Partnership we have already seen the positive impact that the presence of security officers can bring to our services, as we work together to reduce anti-social behaviour. Coun Andrew Fender, chairman of the TfGM committee, added: These are exciting times for Metrolink and the city-region and I warmly welcome KAM as the Metrolink operator .

Together we will further realise the full potential and benefits of the unprecedented growth and investment we are overseeing in the network.

Disruption now over at Manchester Airport following security alert

Normal service has resumed at Manchester Airport following a security alert on Wednesday. Airport bosses confirmed delays have now cleared following widespread disruption which saw holidaymakers face hours of disruption and cancellations after a suspicious item was found in hold luggage. Terminal 3 was closed for a number of hours as the bomb squad carried out a series of controlled explosion on the bag.

Terminal 3 on Thursday morning

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It was later confirmed that the bag posed no threat and police said no arrests have been made. M.E.N sources revealed on Wednesday that items in the luggage, which in a scan initially appeared to resemble a potential device, were behind the major police operation. It s understood the bag contained a jar of curry sauce wrapped in cables, rather than any dangerous substances, and that a camera was found.

Passengers outside the terminal building on Wednesday

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Thousands of holidaymakers were affected when their flights were either delayed or cancelled following the evacuation. They were allowed back into the building after around five hours. A spokesman for the airport confirmed at around 7am on Thursday morning that everything is back to normal following Wednesday s chaos.

Armed robbers trigger security smoke alarm at Barclays bank during daylight raid in Oldham

Armed robbers fled from a bank after triggering a security smoke alarm which billowed out into the street. The gang injured a cash-in-transit driver while grabbing a money box from him during the raid at Barclays, in a busy shopping area of Market Street in Shaw, Oldham. The men escaped in a white Ford Transit van, which was found alight on Sumner Street a short time later.

The security worker suffered minor injuries during the incident, which happened at about 2pm on Wednesday afternoon.

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Police, fire and ambulances services rushed to the scene. The driver did not need hospital treatment, an ambulance spokeswoman confirmed. A police spokeswoman said: We were called shortly after 2.05pm to reports of an armed robbery.

Offenders stole a large amount of cash from a cash-in-transit driver.

They then abandoned a white Ford Transit van, which was found alight on Sumner Street nearby.

The cash-in-transit driver sustained minor injuries.

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Market Street was cordoned off while investigations were carried out following the incident . Officers were also called to Sumner Street, a residential road on an estate around 500 metres from Barclays, and found the burning Transit van. No arrests have yet been made and no description has yet been released off the suspects.

Anyone with further information is urged to contact police on 101.