New Tube campaign for women to report harassment sees ‘sex pest unmasked’

Transport for London today launched a hard-hitting new campaign to encourage women to report unwanted sexual behaviour on the Tube. 

The latest ‘Report It, Stop It’ campaign is designed to give people confidence they will be taken seriously – and treated sensitively – if they come forward to report incidents.

It also gives police the best chance of building up a picture of perpetrators of behaviour including groping, masturbation, sexual comments and assault, and bringing them to justice. 

Reports of sexual offences on public transport doubled from 1,023 in 2012/13 to 2,087 three years later. TfL and police launched Project Guardian to tackle the problem in 2013. 

There was a 36 per cent increase in arrests for sexual offences between 2014/15 and 2015/16, the latest year for which figures are available. 

The deputy mayors for transport and policing, Val Shawcross and Sophie Linden, urged victims to “speak up” as they helped launch a new campaign film.

The film showed how every report helps police to track down an offender. The original film, narrated by Broadchurch star Olivia Coleman, was viewed more than 13 million times.

The latest shows a successful businessman, face pixelated, presenting to colleagues in an office. As voices of women recount their experiences of unwanted sexual behaviour on the transport network, his face is gradually revealed.  At the end, he is taken away by police. 

The campaign, involving the Met, British Transport Police and the City of London Police, is also designed to warn offenders they could be caught at any time. 

Rosie (not her real name), 19, from Islington, was standing next to the door of the Tube on her way to work one morning last year. 

She said: “It wasn’t a particularly busy train. There was a man who was stood very close to me.  I was facing him and because this was making me feel really uncomfortable I turned round. 

“I soon realised that I could feel something press up against me and noticed that it was the man. I didn’t know what to do. 

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“As soon I reached Moorgate I made a run for it. I was shaking and upset by it and I called my Mum straight away, who told me to report it. 

“After the incident I would always keep looking around to see who was on the Tube and very recently started to experience panic attacks.”

Rosie’s report helped police build up a picture of the offender who was arrested by BTP officers at Cannon Street Underground Station on 27 May last year. 

He appeared before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 1 November where he pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault on females.

The man was given a community order of 60 hours unpaid work, completed a rehabilitation programme and was put on the Sex Offender Register for five years.

Siwan Hayward, TfL’s Head of Transport Policing, said: “We are determined to eradicate unwanted sexual behaviour on the transport network. It is never okay. We care about our passengers and the journeys that they make. 

“No matter how insignificant they feel it may be, every report is taken extremely seriously by police and investigated so the offender can be caught and brought to justice.”

British Transport Police Superintendent Jenny Gilmer added: “It is really important that people report any kind of unwanted sexual behaviour to us as soon as possible – time is of the essence so we can exploit all evidence gathering opportunities. 

“Every report, with as much detail as possible helps to build a picture of the offender.”

To report unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport, text 61016 or call police on 101.

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