Manchester cruising crackdown targets Victoria train station toilets

Publish Date: 01/04/2008

Victoria Train StationThe cubicles which have for many years been notorious with men who wish to cruise for sex with other men will become the focus of a major campaign to deter cruising from the station.

The BTP operation, which is also aiming to raise awareness of the legal consequences of public sex acts has been launched in co-operation with Manchester City Council, Manchester Public Health Development Service (NHS) and Northern Rail following years of complaints from members of the public and also ahead of a major regeneration plan for the station.

The toilet cubicles were permanently closed in 2005/06 and now the facility only consists of six urinals, but complaints of sexual activity have still increased in recent years.

Plans for the operation include erecting signage in the toilets, which clearly states the consequences of any unacceptable behaviour, installing CCTV, increased police patrols together with placing outreach workers around the area who will also be on hand to explain the situation to men who use the facilities, before BTP enforce a full crackdown, if necessary.

The Lesbian and Gay Foundation (LGF) is one of the organizations that police have been consulting with to inform the community about the developments.

Nathan Perry, LGF's Men's HIV and Sexual Health Officer commented: 'LGF have liaised with the British Transport Police and other agencies and we believe that BTP are aware of the sensitive nature of many cruising activities and should not go out of their way to make life difficult for men who use the toilets.

'It is important that we inform men who use the toilets for such activities that it is no longer a safe space in which to cruise. We would also like to reassure people that the LGF are working closely with BTP to minimize any potential problems.'