Calls for improved CCTV on London’s public transport to keep women safe

Campaigners are calling for CCTV systems on London’s public transport to be improved to help keep women safe on public transport. 

Zan Moon, women’s rights campaigner and founder of ‘Screengrabthem’, a movement which tackles rape culture within schools has criticised the way that Transport for London has dealt with sexual harassment on its transport, labelling TfL ‘the ultimate hotbed of harassment’.

A major issue that Moon highlighted is that there is no CCTV system in place on the Central Line, and throughout other lines, there are varying retention times for CCTV footage. 

Moon said: “It’s absolutely insane that they have a system whereby there is no CCTV on the Central Line, which is the line where there is the most amount of sexual harassment of all the different transport lines.

“When we started talking about that, TfL said criminals actually know that there’s no CCTV on the Central Line so they target that line.

“Obviously there’s a massive problem there.”

Following her own experience of harassment on public transport Moon put a post out on her Instagram page asking for people to share their own experiences of harassment on public transport. 

Within a week she had received over 200 testimonies detailing women’s experiences of sexual harassment on public transport, which she compiled into a 20-page open letter to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, alongside suggested actions for change. 

Mandy McGregor, Head of Transport Policing and Community Safety ​​said: “There is CCTV on all stations across the whole transport network. The Central Line doesn’t have CCTV because the trains are older and the trains are going under a very complicated upgrade which is underway now.

“We’re working with different systems. The trains are very different ages and that has an impact on CCTV retention for different trains.

“The minimum for CCTV is 72 hours, most are more than that and we’re taking every opportunity that we can to extend the CCTV retention period because we recognise that with some offences they have a profound impact on the victims and you often see a delay in reporting so we want to make sure that we have that.”

Green Party member of the London Assembly, Siân Berry has previously done work on issues surrounding the retention of CCTV on public transport.

In 2017, Berry launched a poster with the tagline “Report it! Before the evidence is lost” that shows the retention times of CCTV on different modes of transport.

Berry said: “This is an issue that affects women’s lives every day.

“I’ve experienced it. Every woman in London has experienced it at some point and it has a real impact on peoples confidence to travel around the city and that is basically an equalities issue because everyone has the same right to enjoy the city.”

As a result of her campaigning, Moon has been made a consultant to the police on preventing violence against women on travel.

As well, CCTV retention time on the Northern line has been increased from lasting just 72 hours to lasting 30 days.

Featured Image Credit: London-Underground-tube-carriage-flickr-Tom-Page

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