Reports of sexual offences on London transport rise by a third, TfL figures show

567 sexual offences were reported on the London Underground and on Docklands Light Railway between 2014 and 2015

Hold tight: passengers on the London Underground
Hold tight: passengers on the London Underground

The number of sexual offences reported on public transport in London has risen steeply by more than a third, new figures show.

Reported sexual offences in 2014/15 increased by 34.7 per cent compared to 2013/14, according to Transport for London (TfL).

TfL said there were 567 sexual offences reported on London Underground (LU) and on Docklands Light Railway (DLR) in 2014/15 compared with 429 in 2013/14. There were also 13 sexual offences on London Tramlink in 2014/15 compared with eight in 2013/14.

TfL said the increase in reported incidents of sexual offences could be related to Project Guardian, an initiative launched by TfL, British Transport Police (BTP) and the Metropolitan Police to reduce sexual assault on London’s transport network.

Reported incidents of violence against the person increased on the LU and DLR from 2,077 in 2013/14 to 2,255 in 2014/15.

However, crime overall on London’s public transport fell to a record low. There were 27,758 crimes in total between 2014/2015, a reduction of eight per cent on the previous year.

London mayor Boris Johnson said authorities would be "relentless" in driving down the overall crime rate even further.

"I am also very pleased that Londoners have been given greater confidence to report sexual offences following the launch of Project Guardian," he said in a statement.

BTP chief constable Paul Crowther said: "Our role is to ensure that passengers and staff are not only kept safe and secure, but that they feel safe and secure, whatever time of day or night they are travelling on the network."

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT transport union, said: "We warned right from the off that cash-led cuts to station staffing would turn LU into a criminals' paradise.

"Those who ignored those warnings, and in particular Boris Johnson, should be hanging their heads in shame today, apologising to Londoners and reversing their lethal cuts programme."

Additional reporting by PA

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