Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens, is joining local people’s calls on the Government, to change the law to make ‘upskirting’ a recordable offence in its own right.
‘Upskirting’ is the action of covertly taking a photograph under someone’s skirt and although can be recorded by police as voyeurism or indecency, it is a practice that is not currently recognised as a specific offence in England and Wales.
In Avon and Somerset there have been six recorded incidents of ‘upskirting’ between 2015-17, including in 2015, when Avon and Somerset Police received an alleged sexual offence on a 10-year-old girl, but there was insufficient evidence to proceed.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “This is not something that women and girls should have to experience and is simply not acceptable. Let’s be clear, the action of ‘upskirting’ is a sexual offence.
“Victims of this practice will not come forward and report it to the police if they think there is nothing the police can do in prosecuting against ‘upskirting’ as a crime. Introducing legislation against ‘upskirting’ sends a powerful message to offenders that this inappropriate and offensive behaviour will not be tolerated.”
Fifteen out of 44 police forces hold records on ‘upskirting’ since 2015 and of those forces, 78 ‘upskirting’ offences have been looked into with only 11 cases resulting in charges, according to a recent FOI request by the Press Association.
The movement to put pressure on the Government to change legislation is similar to the national campaign carried out to make revenge porn, posting explicit images or videos online without the victim’s consent, illegal in April 2015.
Sue continued: “If you’ve been a victim of ‘upskirting’, sexual abuse or assault there are people you can talk to who can help or offer you advice and when you are ready, you can also report what has happened to the police.”
For more information and contact details for support services visit www.thisisnotanexcuse.org