Why are streakers at matches treated same as sexual predators?
As indecent exposure charges fall, top officer asks...
POLICE are still failing to take indecent exposure cases seriously following Sarah Everard’s murder, with less than 7 per cent of suspects charged.
The figures emerged as Britain’s top police officer Sir Mark Rowley called for a change to the law on flashing, arguing that a football fan who streaks on a pitch should not be treated the same way as a sexual predator.
Women and girls are being subjected to more than 40 indecent exposure and voyeurism attacks on average every day, yet just 6.8 per cent of offenders face prosecution, the figures show.
Campaigners say the true number is likely to be far higher as many victims don’t go to police.
Despite police promises to tackle violence against women and girls in the wake of Miss Everard’s murder, charging rates have fallen, official data shows.
Last week three women who were flashed by Scotland Yard officer Wayne Couzens days before he killed the 33-year-old marketing executive accused police of failing to take the crime seriously.
Now figures reveal forces across England and Wales are letting off
‘Escalating sexual offending’
thousands of sex offenders. In the six months to September last year, 7,519 indecent exposure and voyeurism offences were reported, but just 6.8 per cent of suspects (517 people) were charged. More than a quarter (28 per cent) were closed with no suspect identified in 2,089 cases.
Figures from the Home Office indicate a fall in charging rates, although the most recent data only covers a six-month period and some of the cases may not have been resolved in that time. In the year to March 2021, 12.7 per cent of offences ended in charges across England and Wales.
Ministry of Justice data shows the number of people convicted of indecent exposure has collapsed in recent years, almost halving from 810 in 2016 to 435 in 2020. Yesterday Sir Mark said the law needs to change, suggesting there should be harsher penalties.
Solicitor Harriet Wistrich, director of the Centre for Women’s Justice, said police were not taking the offence seriously enough: ‘This sort of offending can be an indicator of more serious, prolific and sometimes escalating sexual offending.’
A National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman said: ‘Violent men who harm women and girls will see increased action against them.’