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Sex attacks on Central line brings calls at London Assembly for onboard CCTV

PUBLISHED: 13:37 06 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:09 09 September 2019

Transport police riding patrol on the Central line which doesn't have onboard CCTV. Picture: Mike Brooke

Transport police riding patrol on the Central line which doesn't have onboard CCTV. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Cameras are to be fitted in carriages on Central line trains which have had more sexual attacks on women than any other part of the London Underground.

Station monitor cameras on the Central line. Picture: Mike BrookeStation monitor cameras on the Central line. Picture: Mike Brooke

A quarter of all attacks on the tube have been on the Central between east London, the City and West End, reaching 100 in just 18 months.

TfL plans to install monitoring cameras in carriages, but the London Assembly says it isn't soon enough.

Assembly members at City Hall called on the Mayor of London to "direct TfL" to bring forward its plans.

"One-in-four sexual assaults on the tube are on the Central line," Assembly member Susan Hall told the transport committee. "Yet perversely it's one of two lines which doesn't have onboard CCTV.

Assembly member Susan Hall... Assembly member Susan Hall... "One-in-four sexual assaults on the tube are on the Central line, yet perversely it doesn't have onboard CCTV." Picture: London Assembly

"All Londoners should feel able to safely travel on the Underground without fearing becoming a victim of any sort of crime, including sexual assault."

TfL is installing cameras as part of an overall gradual train upgrade programme by 2023. But Assembly members want this brought forward.

"This timeline is completely unacceptable," Ms Hall added. "There can be no question over whether TfL should bring forward their installation plans as soon as possible."

Incidents of sexual assault on the Underground reached 348 between July 2016 and January 2018, including 100 on the Central—nearly double the next most reported incidents on the Victoria line.

Central line trains don't have onboard CCTV, despite number of sexual incidents. Picture: Mike BrookeCentral line trains don't have onboard CCTV, despite number of sexual incidents. Picture: Mike Brooke

Central line trains, unlike most other lines, do not have on-board cameras in the carriages, the Assembly was told.

But TfL has since revealed that it was bringing forward its overall £350m upgrade programme starting next year.

A TfL spokesman said later: "This is a bit of a red herring. Most sexual offences such as groping are in crowded carriages are in the rush-hour and are difficult to spot.

"The CCTV in the station can be more valuable for identifying offenders in these instances, compared to onboard CCTV, as it provides a clearer picture. That's where we catch offenders."

Central line... more incidents than any other part of the London Underground. Picture: Mike BrookeCentral line... more incidents than any other part of the London Underground. Picture: Mike Brooke

Transport police have 3,000 officers running covert patrols on the Underground, it has emerged.

TfL's director of policing Siwan Hayward revealed: "More undercover patrols are on the Central line than any other line. A programme of work is underway to install CCTV on the line as quickly as possible from 2020."

An increase in victims reporting unwanted sexual molesting has led more than 1,000 suspects being arrested.

The Assembly urges TfL to promote awareness of the limited period for public transport CCTV images to be retained.

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