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Opinion: Everyone has right to travel without fear of assault or intimidation

PUBLISHED: 08:30 08 June 2019

Brent Central MP Dawn Butler has seen for herself the importance of reporting public transport incidents.

Brent Central MP Dawn Butler has seen for herself the importance of reporting public transport incidents.

Archant

Recently I was on the Tube to Westminster when I was made to feel extremely uncomfortable.

A man on the carriage displayed predatory behaviour towards a young female passenger, thrusting his body towards her. He then sat next to her and more inappropriate behaviour followed.

To make sure she was OK I engaged her in small talk. When she left the train he followed, but luckily another woman realised, and stood between them to delay him exiting. I was pleased by the solidarity to help the woman.

This concerning incident highlights the importance of reporting incidents on public transport and the need to raise awareness. The British Transport Police can be texted on 61016. Or in an emergency, call 999.

Sexual harassment - wherever it takes place - creates misery for many people, often women. It leads to humiliation and intimidation and must be tackled.

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Sadly there have been incidents of sexual assault at stations in Brent in the last year. I have since pressed Transport for London (TfL) and the police for urgent action.

I'm pleased there is a joint initiative between them, Project Guardian, to increase reporting of incidents.

The police have also increased patrols around stations, while new CCTV has been installed in Willesden Green.

I've also held meetings for residents to speak directly to TfL, police and Brent Council.

Everyone has a right to travel without fear of assault or intimidation.

I will continue to push authorities to do everything in their power to keep Brent residents safe.

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