Low sex crime figures in Barking and Dagenham could be due to women’s fear to report cases

Just four cases of sexual harassment on tube lines within the borough have been reported to police over three years.

All of the reported incidents happened at or near to three consecutive stations along the District line, Becontree, Upney and Dagenham Heathway, with just two cases reported last year.

The surprisingly low figures from British Transport Police come following a crackdown on unwanted sexual behaviour across the capital’s public transport network, called Project Guardian, towards the end of July.

According to Transport For London’s (Tfl) safety and security survey, around 90 per cent of women who have experienced unwanted sexual behaviour on the network did not report it to police because they didn’t think it was serious enough.

Joan Smith, co-chair of the mayor of London’s Violence Against Women and Girls Panel, said: “Being able to use public transport without fear of intimidation is a basic and essential right.

“A small but significant number of women have been subjected to harassment and other forms of illegal behaviour, and a high percentage is going unreported because women fear they won’t be taken seriously.

“It’s a criminal offence that absolutely should be reported.”

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Lisa Whitney said on Facebook: “I feel completely unsafe on the number five bus. Also on the tube too, I would never travel alone on either of them.”

Kimberley Fraser added: “I don’t have a problem with the tube, I travel every day no problems, but I’ve seen many problems on the busses, not particularly sexual harassment, but violence, racism and hate.”

Ch Supt Sultan Taylor, of safer transport command, said police wanted to make sure any kind of sexual offence on the transport network is investigated and that reports would be taken seriously.

Report incidents to police or a member of Tfl staff, call British Transport Police on 0800 405040 or text 61016 with details of what happened.

For incidents not on the transport network dial 101, or in an emergency call 999.

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