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Police 'have powers to convict in upskirting cases'

Andrew Segal

BBC Local Live

Police in Devon and Cornwall say they "have the powers to protect and convict" so-called "upskirting" offences despite there not being a law covering such an act.

The practice of covertly photographing under the skirts of women is not recognised as a specific offence, but campaigners have said the government should criminalise such activity.

Woman in skirt
BBC

Officers in the counties said they had dealt with nine reports of such activity between 2015 and 2017 and brought charges in five.

Reports officers dealt with included alleged offences of taking an indecent photograph of a child, voyeurism and conspiring to outrage public decency.

One victim said she turned around to see an offender bent over on the floor with his camera up her skirt.

The known victims were aged between 25 and 47.

The force said its cases showed "we still have the powers to protect and convict in this area where appropriate".

However, a spokesman added: "That said, any new laws that can help us protect victims of this crime is always welcomed by the police."

Police deal with nine reports of 'upskirting'

Devon and Cornwall Police have recorded dealing with nine reports of so-called "upskirting" between 2015 and 2017.

The practice of covertly photographing under the skirts of women is not recognised as a specific offence, but campaigners have said the government should criminalise such acts.

Currently police forces in England and Wales charge alleged "upskirters" with other offences.

Reports Devon and Cornwall officers have dealt with include alleged offences of taking an indecent photograph of a child, voyeurism and conspiring to outrage public decency.

One victim said she turned around to see an offender bent over on the floor with his camera up her skirt.

Five people were charged. The known victims aged from 25 to 47.

Devon and Cornwall Police have yet to comment.

Damian Green doesn't think he acted inappropriately towards Kate Maltby
Damian Green doesn't think he acted inappropriately towards journalist Kate Maltby

'Upskirting' should be criminal offence, campaigners say

BBC News UK

The government should criminalise "upskirting" as a sexual offence, say campaigners, after police data from Devon and Cornwall showed one alleged offence reported included taking an indecent photograph of a child.

The practice of covertly photographing under the skirts of women is not recognised as a specific offence.

There have been just 11 charges related to upskirting since 2015 in England and Wales, a Freedom of Information request found.

But only 15 out of 44 police forces contacted held records and it is feared the number of offences is much higher.

Graphic
BBC

Currently police charge alleged "upskirters" with other offences. Devon and Cornwall Police recorded dealing with nine reports of such incidents between 2015 and 2017.

Sarah Green, from the End Violence Against Women coalition, described the police figures as "very concerning".

She said: "The police responses show that the police are clearly struggling to recognise upskirting distinctly, even though the disclosures reveal that it is commonly connected to existing sexual offences including voyeurism and sexual assault."

Devon and Cornwall Police have yet to comment.