British Transport Police (BTP) is encouraging the public to do their bit in helping us make the railway in North Yorkshire a hostile environment for sexual harassment, as reports continue to rise.
A new campaign has been launched this summer – called ‘Speak Up, Interrupt’ – and it aims to empower bystanders and witnesses of all forms of inappropriate sexual behaviour on the network to report incidents or safely intervene where they can.
Meanwhile there’s a promise that BTP will continue to boost specialist patrols and target hotspot locations.
Reports of sexual harassment and sexual offences to BTP have risen by 175% since before the pandemic (2019/20 compared to 2021/22).
BTP says: “We’re now calling on you to help. Whether that’s by alerting police or taking simple and non-confrontational steps to interrupt or diffuse a situation if you see behaviour such as leering, catcalling, touching, pressing, upskirting, or indecent exposure.”
This could involve:
- Speaking to police or rail staff
- Giving the victim a way out of the situation by offering your seat
- Interrupting the situation by striking up an unrelated conversation or standing between the perpetrator and the victim
- Supporting the victim by asking them if they are ok
- Or, if it is safe to so, speaking calmly to the person causing the issue
Reports can be made by texting 61016 or via BTP’s new app ‘Railway Guardian’ now available to download on the Apple and Google Play store.
The app also contains guides and advice on what information to report and examples of how to be an active bystander.
In an emergency, you should always call 999.