EXTRA PCSOs are being drafted in to help tackle rising anti-social behaviour on the bus network in West Yorkshire.

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) is paying for more officers at local bus stations and on services, councillors were told on Wednesday.

There have been a number of high-profile incidents in Bradford in recent years, often leading to the temporary suspension of routes operated by First through some of the city's estates, including Ravenscliffe and Holme Wood.

And operator Arriva, which runs services in the Spen Valley and other parts of Yorkshire, said it had reduced capacity on one of its major routes because of crime and missiles being launched at buses.

So-called “Trojan buses”, where plain clothes officers ride on services, are also still being used, having been introduced in Bradford and other districts of West Yorkshire three years ago.

Speaking at a Leeds Council scrutiny meeting, WYCA’s interim director of transport operations, Dave Haskins, said: “There’s been quite an increase in anti-social behaviour in general post-pandemic, but certainly it’s been experienced at our bus stations and on the bus network.

“Some of the BSIP (bus service improvement plan) money has gone towards paying for PCSOs to be funded.

“They’re starting to come through their training now. The work we’ve been doing in terms of operations and reducing anti-social behaviour has yielded a lot of fruit.”

Mr Haskins referenced violence at Ossett Bus Station, in Wakefield, which led to Arriva initially announcing they were stopping evening services there in August.

Buses were quickly reinstated, however, when WYCA arranged for security to be hiked at the station, with crime having fallen significantly since.

Mr Haskins said: “The intervention there, which was during the summer holidays, was addressed. (The trouble) was nipped in the bud and I think things are starting to settle down again now.”

Dwayne Wells, Arriva’s commercial director, told councillors that the authorities’ response to the problems in Ossett had been “phenomenal”.

But he warned that the disorder was “sadly not isolated” to the town.

He said: “We had one route into Leeds where we had to downgrade capacity from a double decker to a single decker.

“At some points, particularly on an evening, we had PCSOs travelling on the buses. At every place the bus stopped at, the PCSOs would stand in the doorway, making sure no undesirables boarded.”