Cop reveals harassment ordeal after figures show rise in attacks
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.”