Woman's Tube harassment case dropped 'because staff holiday meant CCTV was lost'

28 July 2022, 11:29 | Updated: 28 July 2022, 15:24

By Daisy Stephens

A female Tube commuter's sexual harassment case was dropped because a member of staff went on annual leave, meaning a crucial 72-hour window to obtain CCTV evidence was missed, a caller claimed on LBC today.

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Zan from Finsbury Park in London called to speak to the Mayor of London on LBC's Speak to Sadiq.

She told Mr Khan she was sexually harassed on the London Underground in January, but the British Transport Police was unable to do anything because the CCTV footage was automatically deleted after 72 hours.

She then said the reason the window was missed was because a member of staff was on annual leave.

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"I was victim to harassment on the Tube in January and told by British Transport Police there was nothing they could do as all Tube carriage CCTV deletes after 72 hours," Zan told the Mayor.

"I was told that we only had 72 hours for the evidence but that time had passed because she'd been on annual leave."

Zan went on: "In my opinion she should have passed the case to someone who was going to be present when I was calling because that's a very, very small window for victims to come forward.

"So it's incredibly important that every hour there's somebody available at the other end of the line to take the issue further."

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Mr Khan said that was just "common sense" and said he "can't disagree with anything" Zan said.

"Zan, I can't disagree with anything you've just said or rebut that because it's patently common sense and the obvious thing to do," he said.

"And my concern is that person has got away with it and who knows how many other people he's treated the way he treated you."

LBC has approached the British Transport Police and Transport for London (TfL) for comment.

Mr Khan also explained that some TfL trains do not have any CCTV.

"Some trains haven't got CCTV, the older trains," he said.

"We're making sure... every new train we buy has CCTV on them.

"It's difficult to retrofit CCTV on some of our older trains, it's just not possible to do."

Zan also said she had sent the Mayor a dossier containing 20 pages of sexual assault testimonies that allegedly took place on TfL services, and accused him of not responding.

Mr Khan said he had discussed it and she "should" have had a response, and apologised and promised to meet with her.

"I can't promise you a rape alarm on every single bus, or a police officer in every single carriage," he said.

"What I can promise you is we have 2,500 police officers who go around the underground to try and make sure it's as safe as possible.

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"We are making sure that we make more progress in relation to tackling any crime on the Underground, and that includes telling people to report what happens."

He acknowledged: "My experience on public transport as a man is very different from yours as a woman."

But he also said ending violence against women and girls is not "simply a policing matter or a TfL matter".

A BTP spokesperson said: "There is absolutely no place for sexual harassment on the railway network, and we are working tirelessly to stamp out this completely unacceptable behaviour.

"Enhanced patrols of uniformed and specially trained plain clothes officers are taking place day and night across the network to identify offenders and reassure the travelling public.

"It’s vital that passengers continue to report these sorts of incidents to us for us to be able to take action – we can identify hotspot locations, target our patrols, and bring more offenders to justice.

"No report is too small or trivial and you will always be believed and taken seriously.

"If you are ever victim to, or witness, sexual harassment on the railway please report it to us using our discreet text number 61016 or through our Railway Guardian app."