Sexual crimes committed on the Welsh rail network rose by 62.5% last year, reaching the highest number on record.
Fifty-two ‘sexual crimes’ were recorded throughout the financial year 2018-19, compared to just thirty-two between 2017-18, according to new figures.
The increase was mainly down to a substantial rise in ‘sexual crimes against females’, which more than doubled since last year.
Thirty-three such crimes were recorded between 2018-19, a 148% increase on the average yearly tally between 2012 and 2018.
The number of sexual crimes against males rose from zero to three, but the number of crimes relating to exposure fell by almost half, from seven to four.
British Transport Police suggest the increase in recorded incidents could be partially attributed to a new text service, which they say “has revolutionised the way sexual assault victims report crimes.” It allows people to report incidents discreetly without drawing attention to themselves.
In a statement, they maintained that: “tackling all forms of unwanted sexual behaviour on the railway is a priority for us – we take every report seriously and will thoroughly investigate all offences.”
Overall crime on Welsh trains rose by 4.8%, the third consecutive year numbers have increased. The 1,435 offences recorded last year is the highest figure since the data set was compiled in 2012.
British Transport Police say: “Despite this increase, it’s important to remember that the chance of becoming a victim of crime on the railway in Wales continues to be rare.”
The most significant increases, other than in sexual crimes, came in ‘drug crime’, which rose by 59%, and ‘violence against the person’, which rose by 22%. It is the first time drug offence have increased, having previously fallen every year since 2012.
However criminal damage fell by 62% on last year, with only fifty-two incidents, the lowest number since before 2012.
Theft of passenger property also fell to a new low, a 13% decrease on 2017-18.