Reported sexual offences on public transport doubles since 2012

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The number of reported sexual offences on trains has more than doubled in the last five years.

According to statistics obtained by BBC Radio 5 live, 1,448 sexual offences were reported in 2016-17, significantly higher than the 650 recorded incidents in 2012-13.

The figures are said to reflect on the continuing awareness made by the police for victims to report sexual offences.

The broadcaster explained that the majority of reports, which cover England, Scotland and Wales, and includes the London Underground, were relating to sexual assaults on females over 13.

BTP Detective Chief Inspector Darren Malpas told the BBC of a campaign that encourages people to report  “anything of a sexual nature, including rubbing, groping, masturbation, leering, sexual comments, indecent acts, or someone taking photos of you without your consent”.

Malpas said that the campaign, launched two years ago by the police is likely to have prompted an increase in reporting.

He told the BBC: “When the ‘Report it to stop it’ campaign launched, we fully expected to record a rise in sexual offences and it is pleasing that previously reluctant victims of sexual offences now have the confidence to report this to us.

“Tackling all forms of unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport is a priority for British Transport Police 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.”

Rachel Krys, co-director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said:

“It is really important that these campaigns continue. When the scale of sexual violence is better understood, police forces take it more seriously and measures can be taken to reduce the risks to women and tackle perpetrators, who for too long had been acting with impunity.”

“Research on the London Underground last year showed that the majority of these offences happen during rush hour, dispelling the myth that this is anything to do with a late-night drinking culture.

“These figures showed that it is sober men, travelling to and from work who thought they were entitled to assault women passengers, and that they would get away with it.”

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