Relax, don’t do it! Jul 27 2004
By The Huddersfield Daily Examiner
SINGERS Dionne Warwick and Neil Diamond are helping to fight crime and anti-social behaviour at Huddersfield bus station.
They are among the artists specially selected by station manager Helen Schofield for her `easy listening’ collection, which is now broadcast to waiting passengers throughout the day.
Helen, who has managed the station for two years, chose the CD collection with the help of the manager of a Leeds record shop.
“They have been selected very carefully,” she said. “Surveys have found that if you play easy listening music it creates a relaxing environment.
“It can deter people who might want to cause trouble in a busy area.”
Relaxing environments where `easy listening’ is played are apparently not the sort of places that potential troublemakers like to hang out.
“It puts them off,” said Helen. “They do not want to be somewhere where that sort of environment is created.”
The tactic is just one in the armoury used to deal with anti-social behaviour.
The station’s CCTV is linked up to City Watch, the town centre camera system. And at least two security guards are on duty throughout the day.
Some 40,000 people pass through the bus station on any one day, so there is plenty of potential for incidents.
Most happen between 7pm and 11pm.
Helen said: “We might get a couple of incidents an evening, such as an argument between people. But they are nipped in the bud and people are asked to leave before things can get out of hand.
“We can actually ban people from using the premises immediately, or we can give them three warnings.”
West Yorkshire transport co-ordinators Metro own the bus station, but services are run by bus operators.
One of the main causes of aggravation is buses failing to turn up. “That can be a problem for the security staff, especially late at night,” said Helen.
“Most people do not realise that Metro is not the bus company. The operator has the responsibility for buses missing or being late.
“But that message does not seem to get across to people.”
About five people have been banned in the past two years.
“Usually they adhere to the warnings and realise it is not the sort of place where they can do what they want,” said Helen.
“On the other hand, we want to create a welcoming environment and make it pleasant for the public.”
FIVE SONGS THAT BUS PASSENGERS LIKE
1. Ticket To Ride
– The Beatles
2. Magic Bus
– The Who
3. Ring My Bell
– Anita Ward
4. Anything by Desmond Dekker or Busted
5 Ride On Time
– Black Box
FIVE SONGS TO UPSET PASSENGERS
1. Highway To Hell
2. Stuck in the Middle
– Stealer’s Wheel
3. Miss You
– Rolling Stones
4. Hanging Around
5 Waiting In Vain
– Bob Marley
WHAT YOU THINK:
Name: David Ashe.
Says: “The music’s from my sort of era. It’s OK. It makes a different environment. It’s more pleasant to hear music than people moaning.”
He said gangs of youths congregated in the bus station at night. “It’s never bothered me really. I have never felt intimidated. The security is OK,” he said.
Name: Pamela Hirst.
Says: “I do not mind the music. I prefer having it. The security is fine. I have never felt intimidated. I have never had any problems. I use the station at night, when there are youngsters about, so I suppose they could do with a few more guards about then. But during the day it is fine.”
Name: Horace Douglas.
Says: “I have seen a few guards walking about talking to youngsters. I would feel a lot better if they were walking with me these days. The security is fine and has probably improved a bit. I seem to have seen a few more guards walking about. The music is OK for the majority. It’s better than nothing at all.”
Name: Charlene Martin, 16.
Says: “The music’s a bit old, but when you are on your own at night it makes you feel less uneasy. I do not think the security is much good. When you come in on your own at night it’s a bit scary.” She has only just started using the bus station again, after her mobile phone was stolen. “I think there should be more security guards.”