CITY region leaders have called for a permanent presence of uniformed officers on tthe Metrolink to tackle persistent anti-social behaviour.

Councillors from across Greater Manchester met yesterday to discuss the city-region’s transport and the issues it faces.

Concerns were raised about a more than doubling in anti-social behaviour (ASB) incidents recorded on the Metrolink network over the last three years.

Problems at Radcliffe tram stop, and around Bury Interchange, have seen joint patrols with police and Travel Safe officers in recent weeks.

On average, 223 incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour per month were reported to Metrolink over last 12 months.

Cllr Howard Sykes, a Liberal Democrat councillor in Oldham, said he has personally been calling for uniformed personnel on trams for at least two or three years.

He said: “Until we get a uniformed individual actually in the tram carriage, we’re not going to see any reductions in this.”

Other councillors echoed his comments.

In January 2019, there were just 14 reported incidents of ASB on the network. In January 2022, that rose to 29.

Incidents of damage to property across the network also increased – with 46 incidents recorded in January 2022 compared to 42 in January 2019 – and there were 50 incidents in which the network was obstructed or interfered with in some way in January 2022, compared to 28 incidents in January 2019.

There were four incidents of sexual assault on Greater Manchester’s trams in January 2022 alone, compared to three in January 2019.

There were also 16 incidents of assault on the network in January 2022, a reduction from the 25 in January 2019.

Metrolink representatives say they are working hard to tackle the issues it faces, but said ‘we cannot do this alone’.

They are understood to be assessing the extent of issues across the network over the coming months and will then be making decisions on where to focus efforts.

The network bosses have called for support from other authorities to try and improve matters.