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More sexual offences reported on British railways

media caption100 Women: Undercover in London, catching harassers on the Tube

Crime recorded on British railways has increased by almost a fifth, including a rise in the number of violent and sexual offences, police figures show.

British Transport Police recorded 2,472 sexual offences last year, up 16%, and 11,711 violent crimes, up by 26%.

The figures also showed big rises in cable thefts and arson attacks.

The End Violence Against Women Coalition said a rise in the number of people reporting sexual violence was partly because of the #MeToo movement.

It added that there have also been initiatives to encourage reporting over the past few years.

The #MeToo campaign has encouraged women globally to speak out about sexual harassment and abuse.

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Overall, BTP recorded 61,159 crimes in 2017-18 in England, Scotland and Wales, a rise of 17%.

Offences involving knives or other weapons increased by 46% to 206, while robbery rose by 53% to 553 recorded crimes.

BTP figures also show a number of other crimes increasing on the rail network, including:

  • Throwing missiles at trains (up 35% to 316)
  • Arson (up 93% to 143)
  • Live cable theft (up 86% to 158)
  • Theft from vending machines (up 21% to 240)

BTP Chief Constable Paul Crowther said: "The chances of becoming a victim of crime on the rail network remains low.

"However, after a long period of steady decreases, both crimes per million passenger journeys and notifiable offences have increased."

A notifiable offence is any offence where the police must inform the Home Office for statistical purposes.

Nineteen crimes were recorded per million passenger journeys.

image captionThis graph shows violent crime recorded by all forces in England and Wales

The BTP said the increase in the total number of crimes was partly due to improving the way crime is recorded.

It said this had increased accuracy and given victims and witnesses "more confidence to report crime".

Rachel Krys, co-director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said: "There has been a huge increase in the number of women reporting sexual violence in the last year, partly as a consequence of #MeToo and because we have seen initiatives to encourage reporting over the last few years.

"If we're going to encourage women to report sexual violence, we also need to make sure they can have confidence their report will be taken seriously, and that everything will be done to ensure their report results in action."

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents rail firms, said Britain's railways were the safest in Europe.

But he added: "The nature of some crimes is changing and as part of our long-term plan to change and improve, we are investing in new technology and innovations to make our railway even safer for our staff and customers."

BTP say victims of sexual offences on trains can text them in confidence on 61016.

Related Topics

  • Rail travel
  • British Transport Police

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