THE chief of police in Oldham says a joint operation has been launched to tackle the worrying spate of attacks at tram stops in the town.

Chief supt Neil Evans highlighted the initiative between officers from Oldham and Rochdale, the TravelSafe Partnership (TSP) and Oldham and Rochdale Councils.

His comments follow a spate of attacks near or at stations recently.

He said that thanks to “painstaking work by officers and help from members of the public”, a number of arrests had been made resulting in suspects being charged and appearing in court.

Following the attack at the Freehold Metrolink, three people have been charged with attempted and will stand trial in September.

There have also been charges following a spate of separate incidents on the tram network, he said.

He went on: “People rightly expect to feel safe in their community and we are absolutely committed to making Oldham as safe as possible.

“This means we continually review how we are doing things. In Oldham we have recently begun to trial a new approach to shift patterns, which has allowed me to increase the number of neighbourhood inspectors in each area to work directly with partners and communities.

“By working together, we are able to identify key protagonists and take action, where necessary, including arrests and encouraging help from youth workers for example, who are also working with us.

“This operation will be in place for some time but we are also exploring options under the TSP and Oldham Council about longer term measures.”

He said the issue was “not simply a matter for the police, appealing for the support of local people, parents, agencies and local business.

He added: “It is everyone’s responsibility and we can only make positive change with the public’s help. By doing this they will help make Oldham a safer place.”