Rise in re­ported sex­ual of­fences on trans­port

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

THERE has been a rise in the num­ber of peo­ple re­port­ing un­wanted sex­ual be­hav­iour on Lon­don trains and buses.

The Re­port It to Stop It cam­paign was rolled out in a move to en­cour­age peo­ple to re­port to po­lice any un­to­ward be­hav­iour on the trans­port net­work, and cam­paign­ers are claim­ing this has made pas­sen­gers more con­fi­dent in do­ing so.

In the past year (2015/16), there was a 31% in­crease in the num­ber of re­ports of sex­ual of­fences, com­pared to the pre­vi­ous 12-month pe­riod.

As a re­sult of the 1,716 com­plaints made about in­de­cent be­hav­iour, more than 500 ar­rests have been made by po­lice.

Just last week, a ‘re­volt­ing’ man from Har­row was jailed for sex­u­ally as­sault­ing women on Lon­don buses.

The Re­port It to Stop It cam­paign was jointly launched by Trans­port for Lon­don (TfL), the Metropoli­tan Po­lice Ser­vice ( MPS) and the Bri­tish Trans­port Po­lice (BTP) in April 2014.

Steve Bur­ton, TfL’s di­rec­tor of en­force­ment and on-street op­er­a­tions, said: ‘Fol­low­ing our Re­port It to Stop It cam­paign, we have seen a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the num­bers of peo­ple hav­ing the con­fi­dence to re­port these crimes.

“To­gether po­lice, we with the are ac­tively en­cour­ag­ing any­one who ex­pe­ri­ences any kind of un­wanted sex­ual be­hav­iour or who wit­nesses any other form of crime to come for­ward – ev­ery re­port is taken se­ri­ously and will be in­ves­ti­gated to bring per­pe­tra­tors to jus­tice.

”The trans­port net­work re­mains a low crime en­vi­ron­ment, with re­ported crimes 21% down over the last five years.

“We are work­ing closely with the po­lice to fur­ther tackle all forms of crime and en­sure our cus­tomers can con­tinue to travel in our great city with con­fi­dence.”

In 2015/16 in to­tal 29,603 crimes were re­ported on the trans­port net­work, a rise of 6.6%, com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year, which saw the low­est crime fig­ures ever recorded.

The fig­ures are part of TfL’s an­nual crime sta­tis­tics bul­letin, and in line with pre­vi­ous fig­ures re­ports of this type of crime con­tinue to in­crease.

In June this year, a ‘preda­tory’ man from Houn­slow was jailed for ‘touch­ing’ a young woman on a bus.

Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent Martin Fry, divi­sional com­man­der for Bri­tish Trans­port Po­lice, added: “With the cam­paign in place we fully ex­pected to record a rise in sex­ual of­fences.

“We know that of­fences were be­ing un­der re­ported and have worked hard dur­ing the past two years to give vic­tims and wit­nesses the con­fi­dence to come for­ward to make us aware of any prob­lems.

“And though it is a con­cern that so many peo­ple are af­fected by this type of crime, it is pleas­ing that more and more peo­ple seem to have the con­fi­dence to re­port such mat­ters to the BTP.”

On Thurs­day Au­gust 4, po­lice of­fi­cers were out and about across the tube net­work talk­ing to the public to en­cour­age them to re­port crimes in an en­gage­ment day.

De­tec­tive Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent Paul Rick­ett, Metropoli­tan Po­lice Ser­vice Roads and Trans­port Polic­ing Com­mand, said: ”Crimes such as these have his­tor­i­cally been un­der­re­ported.

“To change this, the MPS, TfL and other agen­cies have been work­ing to­gether on ini­tia­tives such as Re­port It to stop It, de­signed to in­crease con­fi­dence in re­port­ing these of­fences when they do oc­cur.

“If you have been a vic­tim of such a crime, or you know some­one who is, you can be as­sured that you will be taken se­ri­ously. Any al­le­ga­tion will be ro­bustly in­ves­ti­gated.”

Con­tact the po­lice on 101 or Crimestop­pers in con­fi­dence on 0800 555 111.

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