More than 150 voyeurism and flashing reports in Nottinghamshire during first year of pandemic
Voyeurs and flashers were reported to Nottinghamshire Police more than 150 times during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic – but justice will be served in few of those cases, past figures suggest.
Campaigners calling for a ‘radical overhaul’ of the response to low-level sex crimes say the criminal justice system is failing victims, after just 14 per cent of voyeurism or indecent exposure crimes across England and Wales ended with a charge or court summons in 2020-21.
The most recent Home Office data shows Nottinghamshire Police received 174 reports of voyeurism or flashing crimes in the year to March 2021, down from the 217 the year before.
Different data shows cases of this nature are often shelved before reaching a courtroom, with just 26 of the 178 investigations, 15 per cent, closed during the same period in the area resulting in a suspect being charged or summonsed.
Forces across England and Wales recorded 10,200 such crimes in 2020-21, down from 10,800 in 2019-20.
Another 3,300 were recorded between April and June 2021 – 63 in Nottinghamshire.
Prior to the impact of the pandemic, which led to crime rates dropping, the number of offences had been climbing steadily.
Data shows 40 per cent of the 10,400 cases closed nationally in 2020-21 were dropped due to difficulties gathering evidence, with one in six of those closed before a suspect could be identified.
Campaign group End Violence Against Women called for more research into the response to ‘lower-level’ sex offences and whether that response contributes to a sense of impunity in men who go onto commit more serious crimes.
Deniz Ugur, deputy director, said: “It’s clear the current system is failing women and girls when incidents like street harassment, groping and flashing are almost universally experienced by women and girls across their lifetimes and then so often trivialised or dismissed if reported.”
She said a radical overhaul of the policing and criminal justice system's response to violence against women was needed to ensure the ‘drivers and actions of perpetrators’ were properly investigated and victims supported to access justice.
A Government spokeswoman said the Government is funding a new national policing lead to tackle violence against women and girls in recognition of the seriousness of the issue.