Sexual offences on Britain’s railways have risen 8% in the last 12 months with a total of 2,635 reports to the British Transport Police (BTP).
This, combined with a 16% rise in violent offences (to 13,591 reports) has driven an overall 12% rise in recorded crime, new figures show.
Some 68,313 crimes were recorded by BTP in 2018-19, up from 60,867 during the previous 12 months.
This rise in sexual offence reports follows months of HuffPost UK reporting on the rise in digital sexual offences on public transport such as cyber flashing (passengers being sent unsolicited sexual images via AirDrop).
Reports of cyber flashing are on course to double year on year, with 35 offences recorded in the first half of 2019 compared to 34 for the whole of 2018.
The BTP received just three reports of cyber flashing in 2016 and 15 in 2017 – but suggests that cases go “largely unreported”.
Despite the 12% rise in reports the BTP noted there was fewer than one serious crime per million passenger journeys in 2018-19.
The figures also show year-on-year rises for reports of theft of passenger property (up 21%), public disorder (up 9%) and theft from shops and kiosks (up 10%).
The data relates to Britain’s mainline railway, London Underground, Glasgow Subway and tram systems in the West Midlands, south London and the North East.
“When put into context it is important to remember that the chance of becoming a victim of crime on the railway is very low...”
Deputy chief constable Adrian Hanstock said the force anticipated there could be a rise in overall crime as passenger numbers grew.
“Despite this increase, when put into context it is important to remember that the chance of becoming a victim of crime on the railway is very low,” he said.
“We now police more than 3.3 billion journeys each year, the equivalent of a third of the world’s population passing through our jurisdiction.
“Of course, any rise in crime is of concern to us and we are tackling this head on through our problem-solving initiatives at key locations.”
The BTP said preventing serious violence and knife crime remains one of its key priorities.
Half of all recorded knife crimes on the railway were a result of proactive action by officers which resulted in weapons and other prohibited items being seized.