True stories from the Great Railway Disaster: No 66: so you want a secure station?

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The Independent Online
Passengers using stations in Enfield, north London, have been increasingly concerned about crime and vandalism. The local train company, West Anglia Great Northern, agreed with Enfield council to install close circuit TV cameras at the worst station, Bush Hill Park, with the rail company paying 60 per cent of the pounds 24,000 cost, and the council the rest.

The council was happy with the scheme, on which work has started, and was negotiating to have some of the other 13 stations in the borough made more secure in the same way. However, its plans came to an abrupt halt a few weeks ago when WAGN announced that no work would be able to proceed in 1996/7 - because of privatisation.

According to a letter from John Sowman, WAGN's community affairs manager: "WAGNis now subject to a suspension of capital investment for the remainder of the time before the company is offered for franchising. This means that projects, unless directly concerned with railway safety ... may be in breach of a legal commitment."

Such legal commitments, of course, do not include protecting passengers and therefore all partnership projects with the council to install CCTV have been "put on hold".

Andy Love, the local Labour Party candidate, who drew attention to the problem, said: "Rail privatisation has scuppered a very valuable initiative. Local people are losing out." Moreover, the money may be lost permanently. Enfield is currently eligible for EU funding but this may no longer be available when WAGN is privatised - not due until January 1997.

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