Project Guardian was launched in April.
Unwanted sexual harassment on public transport was tackled yesterday as specially trained officers patrolled Lambeth transport hubs to raise awareness of the issue.
As part of Project Guardian, officers were at stations to hand out information cards and raise awareness of sexual assault and unwanted sexual behaviour across public transport in the capital.
According to TfL, around 15% of females have experienced unwanted sexual behaviour on the network – which includes sexual touching, exposure, sexual/lewd comments, leering and harassment.
Around 90% do not report such crimes to the police, often because they don’t think it is serious enough to do so.
Working alongside The Everyday Sexism Project, End Violence against Women Coalition and Hollaback London, police are aiming to increase confidence among the public to report unwanted sexual behaviour to them or members of station staff.
Julia Gray is the co-founder of Hollaback London, a group dedicated to ending street harassment. She believes this project is well overdue.
“Sexual assault and harassment on our public transport has been an ignored problem for far too long,” she said.
“We all have a right to be free, full citizens in this city, and the insidious problem of male violence against women in our spaces violates our bodies and our human rights.
“It’s crucial the authorities concerned address Londoners’ safety on their transport.”
The British Transport Police said that many people have come forward to report such offences since the project was launched in April.
“We have seen since July 22 a 20% (and rising) increase in reports including an increase in our text reporting number with victims quoting Project Guardian in the body of the text,” said a police spokesman.
“Since April 1 – August 31 we saw a 32% increase in detections (where the offender has been charged/summonsed/caution/warning).”
In a week-long operation in September, 120 plain-clothed and uniformed officers across the capital carried out daily patrols, resulting in 15 arrests.
Victims or witnesses of any sexual offences on public transport can discreetly report it to 61016.
Photo courtesy of LoopZilla, with thanks.
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