British Transport police urging girls to report sex harassment

British Transport Police believes sexual harassment on public transport is underreported by teenage girls.

New statistics show that reports of such crimes have risen, with 886 reports in 2023 compared to 663 in 2022.

Although the increase is believed to reflect improved awareness around reporting, police believe that many incidents are still going unreported.

To highlight their awareness campaign, they are using the case study of a 19-year-old called Lex Gibbons, who has recounted her experience in a song called ‘Audacity’, which she wrote after a man followed her through an underground train station, verbally abused her and touched her.

Police believe that many girls have experienced similar behaviour and are unaware that it can be reported to police. They believe that many girls blame themselves for what happened.

British Transport Police assistant chief constable Paul Furnell said: “I want everyone to know that acting like this on the rail network has serious consequences. As well as our uniformed and plain clothes officers, 150,000 CCTV cameras and your fellow passengers are watching you.

“We’re receiving more and more reports about sexual harassment, as people have had enough of this disgusting behaviour and know we prioritise tackling it. We use reports from multiple passengers to secure the strongest possible sentences for sex offenders.

“Sadly, we know that many women feel that they have no option but to put up with sexual harassment. That’s not the case. If someone is persistently bothering you and makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, please text 61016 to report it.

“Our officers are on patrol 24/7 and can meet trains at the next station. If it happens on the tube and you don’t have signal, you can speak to staff or text us at the next station.”

Siwan Hayward, TfL’s director of security, policing and enforcement, said: “The safety of women and girls is an absolute priority for us and we are committed to tackling sexual harassment, working closely with the police to make our capital’s transport network a hostile place for offenders.”

Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Canley

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