The West Midlands officer cracking down on anti-social behaviour on public transport

A West Midlands transport safety officer picked up a major award for his work as a reassuring figure for thousands of commuters on the region’s public transport network.

Mostly based in Walsall, Paul Wheatley’s 1,186 hours on the beat had him helping more than 6,000 people last year with a wide range of issues from directing lost travellers to following up complaints of anti-social behaviour.

In 2023, Wheatley issued 875 warnings, with his body worn camera footage used to identify and prosecute those responsible for a range of crimes including anti-social behaviour, vandalism and assault.

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Now he has scooped the regional British Security Award for newcomer of the year – and is shortlisted for the national award.

Wheatley said of the award and nomination that “it is always nice to be recognised in a positive way for a job you enjoy doing, but as important is the recognition for the role of Transport Safety Officer and the part we all play every day in helping to make the public transport network a safer place for everyone.”

It’s not the first time he’s positively represented his role in a public manner. Last year he was the focus of a Department of Transport (DfT) video that was part of a national campaign in support of White Ribbon, which is the UK’s leading charity engaging men and boys to end violence against women and girls.

As well as the regular patrols, he has also visited dozens of schools to talk with youngsters about good conduct when travelling as well as highlighting the consequences of bad behaviour.

Paul is part of a team of 12 specially trained transport safety officers (TSOs) who are deployed to deal with low-level nuisance, disorder and anti-social behaviour targeting routes and locations based on reports received from transport staff or the general public.

This covers everything from buses to trams and to commuter trains, as well as the various stations.

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