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Swindon bus shelters help fight on vandalism
UNBREAKABLE bus shelters have proved so successful in one area of Swindon that they have been introduced across the town.
Four years ago, the vandal-proof bus shelters were introduced along Queens Drive after the area suffered from regular bouts of vandalism, especially at weekends.
The damage was so severe it was costing around £1,000 a year to replace the glass in shelters that were regularly affected.
To combat the problem, Richard Palusinski, who leads the town’s Community Safety Partnership, worked closely with Clear Channel UK, the company that maintains and pays for repairing the shelters.
The virtually indestructible bus shelters, made of perforated steel and covered in anti-graffiti coating, have been so successful that they have also been introduced in other areas, including Cricklade Road and Penhill Drive.
The shelters have contributed to a national trend, as Home Office figures released this week showed vandalism is falling at a quicker rate than almost any other type of crime.
Richard said: “Queens Drive is a main road from Junction 15 and bus shelters along the road were regularly being smashed, particularly at the weekend.
“It is what police call a red route, it is the route home from town for many people who have had a few bevvies and feel like smashing something up, so these bus shelters were taking the brunt of it.
“I was concerned about what this was saying to people coming into Swindon.
“Come Monday morning, people were driving in from the motorway and getting the message that Swindon is a bit of a worrying place.
“The broken bus shelters were making people feel that this was a high crime area and it isn’t nice for people waiting for a bus and having to stand in broken glass all the time.
“In the four years we have had the shelters, not one of them has been smashed, so now they are all over the town. They were quite expensive, but the worst hit bus shelters were costing over £1,000 a year to replace so these vandal proof shelters have paid for themselves.
“The other alternative to protect the bus shelters was to station a police officer there every Friday night, but there are 14 bus shelters so you would need 14 police officers and that is never going to work, so we looked at how we could make a difference in other ways.”
Jason Beard, service supervisor at Clear Channel UK, said: “The bus shelters have proved very successful in Swindon.
“I know Penhill was proving a problem – several different materials we had used were being damaged but then this material became available which provided a successful product for us.
“I think we have installed at least 100 shelters like this, not just in Swindon, and we have only ever had about three vandalised in five years.”