An increase in anti-social behaviour and crime on the Metrolink, including knife crime and assaults, has led to renewed calls for police on the transport network.

Neighbourhood officers have already focused on Radcliffe tram stop after flashpoints there in recent weeks.

The rising number of incidents reported on trams and buses – and the seriousness of the crimes committed – has caused concern for councillors.

There was a 23 per cent increase in anti-social behaviour and crime reported in September compared to same month in 2019, with 233 incidents in total. ‘Tram surfing’ has also risen tenfold in that time.

There has been a ‘significant increase’ in assaults reported, up from nine in August to 28 in September – of which seven were directed towards staff.

Youths were caught congregating and throwing missiles in Radcliffe and there has also been an increase in youth-related anti-social behaviour in Rochdale. In August, a 17-year-old boy was stabbed at the East Didsbury Metrolink stop.

But Metrolink head Daniel Vaughan told the Greater Manchester Transport Committee the situation has ‘stabilised’.

He told councillors of successful ‘targeted joint operations’ with police on the Bury, Rochdale and Ashton lines recently which resulted in arrests , which would take place more regularly now police resources are not as stretched as they were during the pandemic.

But Oldham councillor Norman Briggs said there should be more of a police presence on the trams – an an issue raised many times before.

He said: “It’s always been my belief there should be uniform presence on the tram itself for enhanced passenger security, fare evasion etc. I feel until we get this sort of thing, we’re going nowhere.

“Especially as the network develops, we’re going to need something akin to the likes of the British Transport Police to police this sort of situation.

Mr Vaughan said the Travel Safe Partnership, led by Transport for Greater Manchester and GMP, will continue to deal with anti-social behaviour on trams, buses and transport interchanges as they have before.