Sunday, March 26News For London

Sexual harassment reports up by 61% on public transport, much higher than pre-pandemic figures

According to the British Transport Police, there were 313 reports of sexual harassment between April and October this year, whereas there were 194 cases reported during the same period in 2019. This is a massive 61% increase. 

Reports of sexual assault on London’s public transport are on the rise Credits: P P Jaseem

The rise in sexual assault cases in London seems to have awoken the government and police from their slumber. They have announced a slew of measures to make public transport in London safer. The Transport for London (TfL) campaign will have a series of posters and paid adverts across all tube stations to contain such cases. 

Carolina and Marta, are tourists from Spain and have used public transport in London extensively, they said: “A couple of days ago someone tried to steal my phone, it is not only sexual harassment that the police needs to deal with, but other unruly properties as well.” 

They went on to add: “We were in London four years ago, and the transport system here was much safer back then.” 

Daisy, who is from Nottingham but frequents London, said that she had not faced any issues on the tube or buses. 

She did have strong views about the posters and paid adverts campaign, though: “How are posters and adverts going to be of any help? We require stricter measures in place, also better education in schools for men. An increase in policing is also not the best action as women feel uncomfortable around police officers too.” 

We spoke to a couple, Louie and Elizabeth, who use public transport regularly. Louie said that he has never faced any harassment, nor that had he seen it on the tube. 

Elizabeth, on the other hand, does feel uncomfortable on the tube: “A lot of people are staring at you, touching you when you walk by. Maybe have cameras, people enforcing change, and help people who are being harassed.” 

Louie chimed in: “Maybe people’s mindsets need to change, but posters are not the way to go, people can easily ignore a poster.” 

Elizabeth and Louie. Credits P P Jaseem

Mick and Paul are friends who use public transport to get to work, felt that the TfL posters campaign was a step in the right direction: “Everyone reads what’s written on the tubes and something is better than nothing if someone sees the poster and reports the crime, it is good, isn’t it.” 

“The police and safety officers do try their best to prevent such things from happening, but people’s attitude has changed over the past few years. It is up to us to stand up for each other, but there is no harm in increasing the policing and patrolling at tube stations. You used to have officers years ago, patrolling the trains as well, but that doesn’t happen anymore.”