06/03/2013 02:25 GMT

Police Reveal Text Number For Reporting Crime On Trains

Rail passengers will be able to text the police when they spot a crime as they're travelling, with the launch of a new number by British Transport Police (BTP).

The new text short code, 61016, will give travellers the opportunity to ring BTP to report low level, non-emergency incidents such as anti-social behaviour.

In recent months, incidents of racial abuse and harassment have been filmed on mobile phones before going viral and then reported to the police. Those accused of the abuse have in some cases been charged with public order offences.

Similar to the non-emergency 101 phone numbers used by police forces, the new text number will be monitored round the clock.

The number is not for reporting emergencies but there will be the capacity to send police if required.

BTP deputy chief constable Paul Crowther said: "Low-level anti-social behaviour, which we know occurs on trains often later at night and when people have been drinking, is undoubtedly under-reported. Passengers tend to accept or ignore the minority who make the journeys unpleasant for everyone else.

"We hope that the ease of being able to send a quick text message will encourage more passengers to report incidents when they occur. By building up a more accurate picture, we can better focus our resources."