Upskirting to become a criminal offence following PCC Marc Jones call to tackle the issue
THE Government has announced that upskirting will become a specific criminal offence -following a call by Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner for new laws to tackle the issue.
The Justice Minister Lucy Frazer has confirmed the Government would back a private member’s bill to outlaw upskirting – the taking of surreptitious, sexually intrusive photographs.
In the most serious cases, those convicted of secretly photographing underneath someone’s clothing will be placed on the sex offender register and face up to two years in prison.
Last August PCC Marc Jones wrote to the Government to ask for the practice to be made a specific sexual offence.
The issue was raised by Mr Jones in his capacity as a lead on the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners’ Victims portfolio, a role he took on last month.
The letter said the “disgusting practice can be extremely distressing for the victim and leave them feeling violated”.
At the moment there is no specific legislation, relating to this issue. If the person being photographed is in a place which would reasonably be expected to provide privacy, such as a home or changing room, it may amount to the offence of voyeurism under section 67 the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
It could also come under the criminal offence of “outraging public decency” but two people need to see the photo for the offence to be chargeable.
The letter pointed out that there is “clearly is a gap in the law and a case of the law failing to keep pace with the use of technology by offenders”.
Lucy Frazer said: “This behaviour is a hideous invasion of privacy which leaves victims feeling degraded and distressed.
“By making upskirting a specific offence, we are sending a clear message that this behaviour will not be tolerated, and that perpetrators will be properly punished.”
Mr Jones said: “I am absolutely delighted to see progress on this issue. As a father I am appalled that these offences were taking place but even more horrified the offenders were escaping through a gap in the law.
““It is simply not acceptable that women and girls can be subjected to this kind of invasion of privacy for the sexual gratification of a third party, they deserve appropriate protection in law.”
“The Government announcement shows they have listened and acted and that’s very positive news for our communities.”
For more information contact Jon Grubb from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner on 07780 953575 or firstname.lastname@example.org