Op Farrier – Q&A with Andy Wright from the BTP

Op Farrier team at a Tube station

We caught up with Andy from the British Transport Police to speak about Operation Farrier, which is targeting thieves on the transport network. Andy is in charge of the initiative. 🤨


What’s a typical day like in your job?

I don’t think there is anything such as a typical day in policing. My main area of responsibility is to oversee response and neighbourhood policing for the 56 most central Tube stations. This involves sharing briefings, prioritising resources, meeting with local stakeholders to ascertain their problems and ensuring my team have everything they need to deliver the service the force and public expect. Ultimately it is those in my team that the public see more than me; they are the ones delivering a first class service to rail passengers in Central London 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 🚇

What do you love about your job?

Whilst working in the police I’ve experienced things I never could have imagined. From helping vulnerable people in crisis through to mass public order situations. It’s given me experiences that money can’t buy (I’m sure everyone has that 5 year old child in them that wants to drive around on blue lights in central London!) and its put me in situations I never thought I’d be in. 😲

My job allows me to meet people from all walks of life, from different backgrounds and with different experiences. All this means that no two days are ever the same and there’s always an opportunity to learn new things. Working in the police can be hard work and often a thankless task however it also provides you with moments where you can genuinely make a difference to somebody’s life for the better and it’s those moments that mean there’s no job that I’d rather do.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your job?

The biggest challenge I find is having to tell someone that you can’t meet their expectations, for example you have had to prioritise a more serious call over theirs. Obviously this is an approach we have to take and one I am sure the public would agree with however it is never nice to have to tell someone that they will have to wait longer than expected for an officer or that there is insufficient evidence to proceed with a case. 🚨

What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen while on duty on the network?

One of the many joys of being a police officer is you never know what is waiting for you around the corner or on the next train. This was particularly true of an individual I came across on the Victoria line who was asking customers for money whilst wearing a large costume dog head, similar to those worn by a football mascot. This slightly surreal moment was made even stranger when he declined to take it off whilst I spoke to him to ascertain whether he was legally asking people for money or not. Thankfully the matter was eventually resolved but I’m sure it must have been a strange view for anyone walking past! 🐶

What is Operation Farrier?

Operation Farrier is a BTP led operation targeting theft of passenger property on the rail and transport network. It utilises specific weeks of action where we can focus resources to hotspot locations to engage and educate the public on how they can keep themselves safe from theft. We also utilise specialist plain clothes officers to work throughout the day to ‘catch people in the act’ of committing theft. We have these periods of action which have seen tens of thousands of people engaged with across London and arrests for theft – including many that received custodial sentences the very next day.

What can people do to keep themselves safe from theft?

There are a number of simple, but often overlooked, things that people can do to keep themselves from being victims of theft. Simply ensuring that your bag is always zipped up and that valuables are not on display (for example, your phone not sticking out of your back pocket) make it less likely that you will be a victim of theft. Another tip is to be aware of your surroundings and people acting suspiciously around you; this may alert you to the presence of potential pickpockets.

Around the network

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Thieves use a variety of tactics and distractions to relieve you of your personal items – learn more about them so you don’t become a victim of crime.

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