New figures obtained by the Ipswich Star have revealed a staggering rise in police incidents at one Suffolk train station over the last five years.

It comes after a Freedom of Information (FoI) request to British Transport Police revealed that between 2019 and 2023 police were called to railway stations in Suffolk 3,767 times. 

Incidents at Beccles, Bury St Edmunds, Felixstowe, Ipswich, Lowestoft, Newmarket and Stowmarket stations were responsible for more than 3,700 calls to the police in the past five years. 

The highest number of incidents were at Ipswich railway station where police were called 2,028 times in the past five years.

This is four times more than Bury St Edmunds which saw 487 calls made to the police during the same period. 

Ipswich executive for transport said that train travel is still the safest method of transportationIpswich executive for transport said that train travel is still the safest method of transportation (Image: Ipswich Labour Party)

Ipswich station is much busier than Bury in terms of the number of services and Phil Smart, executive for environment and transport at Ipswich Borough Council, was keen to stress that rail travel remained one of the safest forms of transport.

He said: "Modern trains are equipped with CCTV and each has at least one member of staff on board to report any incident to the British Transport Police."

However, a dramatic rise in the number of times police have been called to Ipswich station compared to other stations is cause for concern.

In 2023, police were called to Ipswich 513 times, a rise from 391 the year before. 

In comparison, they were called a total of 365 times to the other Suffolk stations during the same period.

Mr Smart believes increased train travel from Ipswich and a rise in fare dodging was responsible for the increase in the number of incidents.

A train leaves Ipswich for London nearly every half an hour - more frequently than other stations in Suffolk.

In a statement, Greater Anglia said: "Although the chances of being a victim of crime while travelling on the railway are very low,  we work with our partners to make passengers' journeys as safe as possible."

The British Transport Police say that there is only 28.7 crimes per million passengersThe British Transport Police say that there are only 28.7 crimes per million passengers

The British Transport Police said the chance of being a victim of crime on a train was "extremely low" with just 28.7 crimes recorded per million passenger journeys between April and December 2023.

A spokesperson for British Transport Police said: "The public's safety is our number one priority, and we work tirelessly to protect everyone's journeys across the rail network.

"We are aware that every offence is one too many and we work relentlessly alongside our policing partners and the rail industry to prevent this type of behaviour. We have officers across the rail network around the clock, at stations and on trains, to detect and deter crime."

The force said it used to statistics to ensure officers were deployed to areas they were most needed so they could respond quickly to reports of crime. 

"We encourage all passengers who see or experience crime to report it to us so we can take action. They can discreetly report crimes or concerns via text 61016 or via the app and we urge people to ensure they save the number or download the app in case they ever need it. In an emergency, always call 999," the spokesperson added.

Following the figures being released, Greater Anglia is encouraging passengers to download the Railways Guardian app. 

The app was launched with the help of the Home Office Safer Streets fund in 2022 but has only seen 10,000 downloads on the Google Play Store.

The app allows passengers to report incidents discreetly, and swiftly.