Rise in sexual offences at Newham’s stations

Sexual offences are on the rise at Newham's stations

Sexual offences are on the rise at Newham's stations - Credit: Archant

The number of sexual offences committed in train and tube stations has trebled in the past three years.

Figures, revealed through a Freedom of Information request, show 71 sex offences were committed at stations across the borough in 2015 – a 208 per cent rise from the 24 recorded in 2013.

That number includes 61 sexual assaults against women over the age of 13, two sexual assaults against men over the age of 13 and two sexual assaults against girls under the age of 13.

Baljit Banga, a director of London Black Women’s Project, in Barking Road, Plaistow, said: “The public transport system is a mirror reflection of other spaces within society accessed by women and girls where such behaviour is unchecked, tolerated and accepted.

“The fact that some of the assaults involving unwanted touching on public transport occur during peak hours speaks to this point.”

A number of sexual assaults also took place on trains themselves last year, including an incident on board a DLR train between Pontoon Dock and Canning Town on August 30.

At around 11.04pm, a man inappropriately touched a woman and then alighted at Canning Town station.

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Another incident took place between Canning Town and Stratford, where a man also inappropriately touched a woman on the Jubilee line at around 4.30pm on August 5.

A spokesman for British Transport Police (BTP) said: “We have worked hard in recent years to send a clear message to victims that they will be taken seriously and we will investigate offences.”

He added that a national campaign, report it to stop it, aimed to encourage people to report any behaviour that makes them feel uncomfortable.

“Though it is clearly a concern that so many people are affected by this type of crime, it is pleasing that victims of sexual offences now have the confidence to report this,” he said.

Reports of violent crime have also risen,with 537 incidents occurring in 2015 compared to just 418 the year before.

Steve Burton, Transport for London (TfL)’s director of enforcement and on-street operations, said: “The safety and security of customers and staff is our top priority.

“Working closely with the BTP we have around 700 uniformed police personnel on the Tube and DLR networks.”