HUNDREDS of British Transport Police officers joined a day of action targeting unwanted sexual behaviour on the railway network, across England, Scotland and Wales.
Over three hundred targeted patrols were conducted by plain clothes and uniformed officers at stations and on trains, resulting in seven arrests and countless conversations with passengers.
They were supported by covert officers who are specially trained in identifying sexual offenders, and gathering intelligence, who operate across the network daily.
Officers engaged with thousands of passengers at engagement stands at key transport hubs, providing information on how to report unwanted sexual behaviour using our discreet text number.
The day of action on 30 September was supported by thirty partners, including Transport for London, Network Rail, train operators and local police forces.
Tackling sexual offending is a top priority for British Transport Police, and this year we have almost tripled the number of officers who are specially trained to investigate sexual offences across England, Scotland and Wales.
These officers receive thorough specialist training in supporting victims and in sexual offence investigation, including child sexual abuse and online sexual offending.
Detective Chief Inspector Sarah White said: “As well as targeted patrols, we had the opportunity to have thousands of conversations with passengers on Wednesday, encouraging them to have the confidence to report unwanted sexual behaviour to us.
“Unwanted sexual behaviour is anything that makes a person feel uncomfortable, and I can’t stress enough that no incident is too small or trivial. We will always take you seriously.
“Each report we receive provides us with valuable information which we can use to build a picture of an offender. Often it allows us to notice a pattern of offending behaviour and then take action.
“We want everyone to know that they can text us discreetly on 61016, whether something is happening to you at the time or has happened to you recently. Our control room can dispatch officers to a location if required, or put you in touch with an officer to speak at a convenient time. Save 61016 in your phone, so you have the number to hand should you ever need us.”
Jacqueline Starr, Chief Operating Officer for the Rail Delivery Group which represents train operators and Network Rail said: “The risk of experiencing crime on the railway is very low but preventing unwanted sexual behaviour is something that rail companies take extremely seriously.
“We know that when these offences do occur, many go unreported and that’s why train operators are preparing new campaigns to encourage reporting that will help the BTP catch those responsible.”