SEXUAL harassment incidents on trains have risen by 175 per cent since before the pandemic, new figures show.

This data comes after a man was sentenced at Reading Crown Court for sexually assaulting a woman on a journey between Oxford and Princes Risborough because she did not give him his number.

William Roberts, of London Road, Thornton Heath, was locked up for 24 months in June and he will now have to sign the sex offender’s register for ten years following his offending.


Now British Transport Police have launched a new campaign, named ‘Speak up, interrupt’ aiming to empower bystanders to report inappropriate sexual behaviour to the force.

BTP is encouraging passengers to do any of the following:

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.

The force said reports of sexual harassment and sexual offences to BTP have risen by 175 per cent from 2019/20 to 2021/22.

BTP Sexual Offences Lead, Detective Superintendent Sarah White, said: “We must shift the focus away from just relying on victims to report sexual harassment to us, because everyone has a part to play in driving out this unacceptable behaviour.

“We’re not asking people to police the railway, that’s our job. But small actions such as offering someone your seat if you notice them looking uncomfortable, alerting an officer, or reporting an incident to us can make an enormous difference.

“Your reports provide us with crucial information which helps us build a picture of what’s happening on the network so we can identify crime hotspots, deploy patrols to catch offenders, and crucially bring them to justice.

“As always, our officers are out across the network day and night looking out for you. Download our new Railway Guardian app for more information.”