‘Report it to Stop it’ increases public confidence to report unwanted sexual behaviour
Reports and arrests of unwanted sexual behaviour on the transport network have increased in the last year as TfL, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), the British Transport Police (BTP) and City of London Police (CoLP) work together to instil confidence that all reports will be taken seriously and investigated in a commitment to rid the network of these crimes.
The multi-agency 'Report it to Stop it' campaign has influenced a 36% increase in the number of people coming forward after experiencing unwanted sexual behaviour on the Capital's Tube, rail and bus network.
Hundreds of officers
Between April and December 2015, 1,603 reports were made to the police, compared to 1,117 in the same period in 2014. These reports resulted in a 40% increase in arrests for offences including rubbing, groping, masturbation, leering, sexual comments, indecent acts or the taking of photographs without consent.
These results come as hundreds of uniformed officers from the BTP and MPS are out across the transport network for a special week of engagement with the public, handing out leaflets and giving advice to commuters and tourists on how to report unwanted sexual behaviour.
Siwan Hayward, TfL's Deputy Director of Enforcement and On-Street Operations, said: 'The safety and security of all our customers is our top priority. We launched 'Report it to Stop it' in 2014 and have seen year on year increases in reports by the public on unwanted sexual behaviour.
'This campaign has helped to give confidence to our customers in reporting such incidents. Our Police partners pledge to take every report seriously and take action.
'Help us eradicate this kind of vile behaviour on the transport network by reporting it to stop it.'
Superintendent Chris Horton from British Transport Police said: 'Tackling all forms of unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport is an absolute priority for the BTP and we have worked hard in recent years to send a clear message to victims that they will be taken seriously and we will investigate offences.
'Despite the improved confidence in reporting we have we will continue to encourage people to report any form of behaviour that makes them feel uncomfortable - that could be rubbing, leering, sexual comments, indecent acts or more serious sexual assault.
'We take every report of unwanted sexual behaviour seriously and our specially trained officers work hard to find those responsible, by speaking with witnesses and reviewing the extensive CCTV available to us on the rail network.
'If you are a victim of an offence, call the BTP on 0800 40 50 40 or text us on 61016. In an emergency, always call 999.'
Bring offenders to justice
Chief Inspector Colin Carswell, MPS Roads and Transport Policing Command, said: 'We want to make sure that any kind of sexual offence that occurs on the transport network is investigated and I would urge people to immediately come forward and report their concerns to the police to enable us to bring offenders to justice.'
'Our policing partnership approach is designed to protect and reassure passengers that the MPS, BTP and TfL will not tolerate any incidents of unwanted sexual behaviour and we do all we can to ensure safe and secure journeys for all.'
'Report it to Stop it' encourages passengers to report any unwanted sexual behaviour they experience while traveling on the network.
The campaign's film, which highlights the varying degrees of unwanted sexual behaviour, has now been viewed by more than 3.8 million people, helping to increase confidence in reporting behaviour that makes people feel uncomfortable.
The message given to victims is that they don't have to prove that it was a criminal offence or intentional to report an incident, and that the police will investigate all reports.
Notes to Editor:
- Between April and December 2015, 438 arrests were made for unwanted sexual behaviour on the transport network, compared to 311 in the same period in 2014
- Link to 'Report it to Stop it' Tumblr site: http://report-it.tumblr.com
- Project Guardian is a joint initiative to eliminate unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport in London. It was set up, operationally, in July 2013 following a TfL safety and security survey, which revealed that while 1 in 10 Londoners experience unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport, over 90% did not report it to the police
- All front line staff working for the BTP, MPS, CoLP and TfL has undertaken additional training to raise awareness of unwanted sexual behaviour
- Crime on the transport network is at a record low, having fallen for the last nine consecutive years. But research shows that unwanted sexual behaviour is still under-reported