Manchester Evening News
City has highest rate of flashers
HUNDREDS of flashers and peeping toms were reported to police in Greater Manchester last year – with Manchester a particular hotspot.
Across Greater Manchester as a whole, there were 671 cases of people exposing themselves or spying on others recorded by police in the 12 months to September last year.
The figure, which comes from exclusive analysis of Home Office data, includes instances of ‘upskirting,’ which, until now, has come under the offences of voyeurism or outraging public decency.
However, voyeurism only applies to filming actions taking place in private, while outraging public decency usually requires someone to have witnessed the action.
From next month it will become a criminal offence in its own right, following 18 months of campaigning from upskirting victim Gina Martin.
Politicians have argued that more also needs to be done to improve conviction rates for these types of crime, to create a ‘zero-tolerance approach’ to sexual violence.
Manchester has the highest rate of flashers and peeping toms in Greater Manchester, and one of the highest rates in England and Wales.
In the city, police recorded 169 cases of people exposing themselves or spying on others in the 12 months to September, more than anywhere else in the country.
That translates to roughly 32 displays of perverted behaviour for every 100,000 people who live in Manchester, nearly twice the national average.
Across England and Wales, there were 9,757 recorded cases of people exposing themselves or secretly observing people.
That works out as 17 instances for every 100,000 people.
Mandu Reid, interim leader of the Women’s Equality Party, said: “The seriousness of voyeurism and exposure should not be trivialised, not least because these crimes can be precursors to rape and sexual abuse.
“Evidence shows that men’s objectification of women is linked to increased violence towards them, and it is common for the behaviour of voyeurs to escalate.
“Leniency toward such crimes creates a culture where sexual harassment and violence are endemic.”