The number of reported sexual assaults on the London Underground has risen 42 per cent over the last four years, according to new data.
Attacks on the capital’s transport network have jumped from 844 in 2015-16 to 1,206 in 2018-19, the PA news agency’s analysis of figures found.
Detective inspector David Udomhiaye, of the British Transport Police (BTP), said the force expects a rise in sexual offences after launching its Report It To Stop It campaign in April 2015.
“Though it is clearly a concern that so many people are affected by this type of crime, it is pleasing that previously reluctant victims of sexual offences now have the confidence to report this to us,” he told the Independent.
Siwan Hayward, director of policing for Transport for London (TfL) said: “TfL and British Transport Police work tirelessly to combat unwanted sexual behaviour, with 3,000 police and police community support officers dedicated to catching offenders.
She added: “We know that for too long these crimes have gone unreported, but as a result of the Report It to Stop It campaign, the number of people reporting these disgusting crimes with the confidence that action will be taken, has increased.”
TfL said it has had success running undercover patrols on the Tube, focusing on the Central Line, where it plans to install CCTV from next year.
However, Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT union, accused TfL of contributing to the rise through staff cuts and a lack of investment in safety measures.
Saying TfL has given “a green light to those with criminal intent”, Cash added: “Both passengers and staff alike are being subjected to an unprecedented surge in crime and violence.”
The RMT is planning now planning industrial action on the District Line over the issue of staff’s personal safety.
“RMT will not be fobbed off and if Tube bosses think they can just kick the can down the road on violent assaults on the Tube network then they need to think again, and quickly,” Cash said.
A TfL spokesperson said: “We have met with the RMT to reiterate our commitment to ensuring the safety of our staff and outline the steps we have taken to address their feedback. We will continue to engage with them to ensure all staff feel safe and secure while performing their duties.”