By Jacob Phillips, local democracy reporter
Just one in five cases of indecent exposure reported to the Met Police lead to punishment, according to the latest data.
More than 2,000 crimes of flashing and sexual voyeurism were reported to police in London last year.
The crimes are particularly common in Central London with 142 offences in Westminster last year.
Westminster saw the highest cases of exposure and voyeurism in England and Wales with 54 offences for every 100,000 in the borough.
Campaigners are calling for cases of flashing and sexual voyeurism to be taken more seriously after former Police officer Wayne Couzens was accused of driving around Dover naked from the waist down in 2015, and of twice flashing staff at a McDonald’s in Kent just days before he abducted, raped and murdered Sarah Everard in March.
Concerns have been raised Couzens kept his job at the Met and was not seen as a potential threat to women.
An investigation by the Sunday Mirror into the Met Police has revealed that 26 former colleagues of Wayne Couzens have committed sex crimes since 2016.
Police figures show in London offences of this nature are at their highest for a decade.
There were 2,267 crimes of exposure and voyeurism recorded in the capital by the Met Police in 2020/21 – despite the pandemic and lockdowns, which have generally seen crime fall.
The actual number of offences is thought to be higher as the majority of victims do not report sexual offences.
Large numbers of the cases were recorded in Lambeth (122), Hackney (119) and Ealing (111) while Kingston recorded just 28 cases.
City of London Police recorded five crimes of exposure and voyeurism. Three of these offenders were charged or received a court summons, and the other two escaped without punishment.
Of the 2,267 offences committed across London last year, investigations were completed in 1,848 cases without anyone receiving any form of punishment of any kind.
Investigations were either not seemed to be in the public interest or evidence was not found in cases.
Just 210 offenders were charged or received a court summons.
An National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesperson said: “Incidents of indecent exposure can be extremely distressing for those who witness them.
Police will take these reports very seriously, investigate, and prosecute where there is evidence to do so.”
Siobhan Blake, national lead for rape and serious sexual offences prosecutions for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: “The offences of voyeurism and indecent exposure are alarming offences and demonstrate disturbing patterns of behaviour.
“The CPS takes these offences extremely seriously and will not hesitate to prosecute any cases referred to us that meet our legal test.
“We encourage anyone who is a victim or witness of either offence to immediately report it to the police.
Where cases meet our legal test, we will not hesitate to prosecute.”
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