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‘Report it to stop it’: New campaign to eliminate unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport

Policing partners and Transport for London launch the next stage of Project Guardian to tackle under-reporting of sexual offences on public transport

Today (13 April), the City of London Police, British Transport Police (BTP), Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), and Transport for London (TfL) launched a joint campaign to encourage passengers to report any unwanted sexual behaviour on the transport network.

Project Guardian is a joint initiative to eliminate unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport in London. It was set up operationally in July 2013 following a TfL safety and security survey, which revealed that while 1 in 10 Londoners experience unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport, over 90 per cent did not report it to the police. ‘Report it to stop it’ aims to tackle under-reporting by raising awareness that people can and should report all behaviour that makes them feel uncomfortable and that the police will take action as a result.

The campaign uses a short film, promoted through Video on Demand channels such as All4, Now TV and YouTube, primarily aimed at women aged between 16 and 35. The film follows a woman’s journey in which she experiences escalating incidents of unwanted sexual behaviour on the Tube. Viewers are encouraged to interact with the film by deciding at which point they would 'Report it to stop it' by texting 61016.

All front line staff working for the City of London Police, BTP, MPS, and TfL have undertaken additional training to raise awareness of unwanted sexual behaviour. The police have strengthened their investigations of sexual offences and detection rates are on the rise. 2,400 incidents of sexual harassment have been reported to the police since Project Guardian launched, an increase of 25 per cent compared with the similar period before the project launched.

For the last two years, targeted weeks of action have also been carried out, where hundreds of uniformed officers stepped up patrols and advised commuters on how to report unwanted sexual behaviour. Further days of engagement and action will be carried out in the coming weeks and months to support the ‘Report it to stop it’ campaign, with officers handing out leaflets and giving specific advice to commuters and tourists.

DI Anna Rice of the force’s Public Protection Unit said: “The force fully supports ‘Report it to stop it’ and urges victims to come forward in confidence. Unwanted sexual behaviour is not acceptable and we will take every report seriously.”

Siwan Hayward, TfL’s Deputy Director of Enforcement and On-Street Operations, said: “We care about our passengers and the journeys that they make. We do not tolerate any unwanted sexual behaviour on our network and, working closely with our policing partners, we are all determined to eliminate sexual harassment from public transport. Through this communications campaign we want to reassure the public that all reports are taken seriously. By reporting unwanted sexual behaviour you can help to stop it."

A website has also been created to provide information to help break down the barriers that prevent reporting unwanted sexual behaviour. The site will ensure there is one location for all the information people need and actions they can take to report.

Unwanted sexual behaviour is anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. You can report anything of a sexual nature, including rubbing, groping, masturbation, leering, sexual comments, indecent acts, or someone taking photos of you without your consent. You don’t have to prove it was a criminal offence or intentional to report it, the police can investigate that for you.

Visit the Report it to stop it website​

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