FOI request detail

Offences on buses

Request ID: FOI-0230-2223
Date published: 30 May 2022

You asked

Please disclose, preferably by PDF, the number of occasions in the last 5 years 4 months, if possible broken down to the number per calendar year and, for the current year, the number for the part year to the end of April, where someone has been recorded at TFL (perhaps from formal complaint being made by drivers or passengers) as viewing pornography on any bus in Greater London and how many of the occasions (per year) resulted in the police proceeding against them, that is it either resulted in the person accepting a caution, criminal warning (not sure if this still applies, for example to youth offenders) or paying a fixed penalty notice, or else criminal proceedings were started (regardless of whether or not they then proceeded to a conviction). No further action by the police doesn't count - I want some form of formal police action for the purposes of counting in my request, which as stated will be such as the person is cautioned etc. or the case gets so far as to result in court proceedings being started (suggesting 'the police are acting', it doesn't then matter if the case couldn't be proven or whether it could - the police took formal action). Please disclose, preferably by PDF, the legislation involved in relation to the offence identified by the caution/warning/acceptance and payment of a notice or in the proceedings started - this may be disclosed (relating to each year) by legislation name and number of occasions that involved that legislation (for each different law) - if you can't go into breaking down to provide all statutes involved regarding cases for a year, or for the 5 year (5 year plus) period, please can you let me know, whether related to each year and the current part year, or related to the five years 2017-2021 inclusive, or related to the full five years four months (ends 30 April 2022), how many of the occasions have involved the Indecent Displays (Control) Act (where police proceeding to act against the accused happened as described above).

We answered

TfL Ref: FOI-0230-2223
Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 3 May 2022, asking for information about passengers watching pornography on London buses.
Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy.  Unfortunately we don’t hold the information you asked for.

We consider the watching of pornography on our public transport networks to be a form of sexual harassment. It is wrong and it is harmful to our customers and staff. We launched our zero tolerance to sexual harassment campaign in October 2021 with our transport police partners in the Metropolitan Police Service and British Transport Police to deal with this type of unwanted sexual behaviour. The campaign aims to send a clear message to offenders that this behaviour will not be tolerated on the network. It also encourages those who experience or witness any form of sexual harassment to report it to the police.

There is currently no specific offence for watching pornography in a public place. However, it could be investigated under other legislation such as a public order offence if it can be proved that the offender intended to cause harassment, alarm and distress, as an outraging public decency offence or byelaw offence. Based on the police crime data we hold, we are unable to identify records which involve the watching of pornography in a public place.
We support the calls, including from the Mayor of London, for public sexual harassment to be made a specific criminal offence and would like it to include the watching of pornography in public places. This should make it more straightforward for the police to investigate.

Please note Virgin Media does not allow adult content to be streamed on the WiFi on the TfL Network.

If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable to access it for any reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely
Eva Hextall
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

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