The recent survey also shows that half of those who have been victims of sexual offending say that other passengers tried to help them, yet only one in five people who have witnessed sexual harassment have reported it to police.
Contrary to popular belief, crime data also shows that most sexual offending takes place during the evening rush hour period from 5 to 7pm in busy train carriages.
BTP says specialist teams of plain clothes officers use this data to target their patrols and identify offenders, and investigations are supported by easy access to journey travel data and over 150,000 CCTV cameras on the railway network which provide us with quick and clear images of suspects.
The survey findings show that rail passengers are looking out for each other however, officers say it’s vital that incidents are also reported to police for them to be able “to act and hold offenders to account, making the network a safer place for everyone.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Furnell said:
“I’ll guarantee that most of us have told our daughters, mums, or friends to be careful on their way home when they’re travelling alone late at night – perhaps to share their journeys and stick to well-lit areas.
“But we know that sexual harassment and offending can take place at any hour of the day, and our figures show that it’s most likely to happen at the busiest hours when carriages are most full. This means we all have a part to play in taking our heads out of our phones or newspapers and being aware of what’s going on around us – and if we see something that isn’t right doing something about it, whether that’s intervening if you feel safe to do so or reporting it to police.
“We’re not asking people to police the railway because that’s our job, but we need people to report what’s happening to us so we can take action. Reports provide us with the crucial information we need to identify crime hotspots and target our patrols to catch offenders and bring them to justice. Driving out this unacceptable behaviour is our number one priority at British Transport Police.
“I would urge everyone to download the Railway Guardian app and let us know if you witness or experience this sort of offending. We will always believe you and take you seriously.”