London's long-awaited Night Tube service will have around 100 additional police officers to protect staff and commuters after Sadiq Khan committed £3.4m ($4.4m) in funding. The Mayor of London's move comes ahead of the launch of the 24-hour-service this Friday (19 August).
The Night Tube will initially run on the Central and Victoria lines and will be extended to the Piccadilly, Jubilee and Northern lines in autumn. IBTimes UK exclusively revealed that a passenger free trial of the Night Tube was conducted last Friday and Saturday.
British Transport Police (BTP) officers will be patrolling on stations and trains this weekend. "The opening of the Night Tube marks the start of an exciting new chapter in London's life. It will unlock the full potential of London's night time economy and support the thousands of Londoners who travel to or from work at night," said Khan.
"Keeping Londoners safe is my number-one priority. The extra investment in British Transport Police officers will ensure that all Londoners using the Night Tube feel safe, whether getting back from work or going out at the weekend with friends.
"Passengers on the Night Tube must be able to travel with the same confidence they are used to during the day. That's why we're investing £3.4m to ensure that dedicated officers are on hand to offer the support and visible reassurance Londoners expect."
The Night Tube was first announced under former Mayor of London Boris Johnson in 2014, with a 2015 launch date. But due a dispute over pay and work conditions with the Underground unions, including Aslef, RMT, TSSA and Unite, the project was delayed.
The service is expected to support 2,000 permanent jobs, boost the economy by £360m and bring London in line with other major cities which run night time metro services, such as New York and Berlin.
Martin Fry, chief superintendent of BTP, said: "We have recruited extra police officers in order to ensure there is a visible uniformed presence across the network on Friday and Saturday nights.
"Station staff and passengers will see a presence at key stations, and mobile teams who will travel the lengths of the Central and Victoria lines throughout the night and the Northern, Piccadilly and Jubilee lines, once they are open.
"A network of BTP rapid-response vehicles across London will also be in place to ensure police will be ready to attend any incident quickly.
"Police presence will be backed up by CCTV cameras across the network, supported by the London Underground Control Centre, which operates 24-hours a day, seven days a week, working closely with the police to respond to any incidents that may occur."