Cop re­veals ha­rass­ment or­deal after fig­ures show rise in at­tacks

Sunday Sun - - News - By Laura Hill Re­porter Laura.Hill@trin­i­tymir­

A PO­LICE of­fi­cer has told of her sex­ual ha­rass­ment or­deal after shock­ing fig­ures re­vealed 52% of peo­ple have ex­pe­ri­enced it on a night out in the North.

Fig­ures from YouGov and Drinkaware show sex­ual ha­rass­ment while out drink­ing has be­come so com­mon­place that 67% of peo­ple sur­veyed said they ex­pected fe­males would be touched in­ap­pro­pri­ately or face sex­ual com­ments or abuse on a night out.

And PC Claire McNaney, an al­co­hol harm re­duc­tion of­fi­cer at Durham Con­stab­u­lary, has told how she was sex­u­ally as­saulted while out club­bing in New­cas­tle.

The 35-year-old claimed the in­ci­dent hap­pened in 2015 while she was on a night out with two fe­male friends.

She said: “We were mind­ing our own business and hav­ing a laugh, chat­ting to­gether when I felt some­one grab my bot­tom.

“I got a hold of him by the hand and led him over to the bouncer and said to him I wanted him to be kicked out and the po­lice to be called. I did it qui­etly not to cause a fuss.

“The po­lice ar­rived, he was ar­rested and I went to the po­lice sta­tion and gave a state­ment, which took an hour.”

The man who groped PC McNaney was pros­e­cuted for sex­ual ha­rass­ment and con­victed at court.

And the of­fi­cer said she wanted to speak out to en­cour­age other women who face ha­rass­ment to act.

“The po­lice are on your side, the door staff are on your side and you don’t need to put up with it,” she said.

“It wasn’t the first time it hap­pened to me but I was just sick of see­ing it hap­pen to other women when I am at work and sick of it hap­pen­ing. I wouldn’t hes- itate to do the ex­act same thing again.”

New­cas­tle has a rep­u­ta­tion as a party city with lively bars and clubs to en­joy.

But Kim McGuin­ness, cab­i­net mem­ber for culture and com­mu­nity at the city coun­cil, be­lieves peo­ple should not tol­er­ate sex­ual ha­rass­ment.

Coun McGuin­ness said: “These are re­ally shock­ing fig­ures.

“Women should be free to en­joy a night out in the city with­out ex­pe­ri­enc­ing ha­rass­ment or be­ing sub­jected to in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour.

“Al­co­hol is not an ex­cuse. Sex­ual ha­rass­ment is an of­fence and should not be an ex­pec­ta­tion that goes hand in hand with al­co­hol. Don’t do it and don’t tol­er­ate it.”

New­cas­tle City Coun­cil’s Safe New­cas­tle pro­gramme works with street pas­tors, NE1 war­dens and the po­lice to make the city as safe as pos­si­ble.

Coun McGuin­ness added: “In our city we’ve worked hard to make sure there is al­ways some­one to speak to or to ask for help or sup­port.

“New­cas­tle is a fan­tas­tic city and we want lo­cals and vis­i­tors to ex­pe­ri­ence a great time here.”

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