Target: Nick Watson, Superintendent of British Transport Police
Goal: Applaud creation of Project Guardian, which encourages the reporting of sexual harassment and assaults on London’s public transport
London’s public transport police have recently launched Project Guardian, the largest effort to address the sexual offenses that occur on public transportation. The 2,000 officers who police London’s public transit networks, which include the Underground, the Overground, buses, and trains, are now trained to deal with crimes of a sexual nature. Under Project Guardian, up to 180 officers at a time will now be posted at stations to aid victims who report sexual crimes on buses and trains. Please applaud this exemplary project that combats sexual assault and harassment.
Few women report incidents of sexual harassment that occur on public transportation, which is why this program is so vital and should be expanded to all cities with large-scale public transit systems. One of the managers of Project Guardian, Ricky Twyford, said that the project was initiated after transport bosses became increasingly concerned about the growing number of commuters reporting security and safety apprehensions while using London public transit. Twyford says, “We hope this will send a message to everyone that we will not tolerate this behaviour. We want women to feel confident that they will be listened to and their complaints will all be taken seriously.”
To assist in the drafting of Project Guardian’s guidelines and staff training, London police leaders enlisted three women’s rights campaign groups, among them the End Violence Against Women Coalition, Hollaback, and Everyday Sexism. London police authorities also modelled Project Guardian after a similar program exercised by the Boston’s Massachusetts Bay transport authority. Project Guardian will also use Twitter so that women can now report and share incidents that have happened to them in real time. Show your support of Project Guardian and its anti-sexual harassment message.
Dear Superintendent Nick Watson of British Transport Police,
I commend the launching of Project Guardian, London’s initiative to combat sexual assault and harassment that occurs on public transportation. By encouraging women to report crimes of a sexual nature, Project Guardian is empowering the voices of women. Instead of enduring in silence, London’s public transport officers have begun the process of fostering an environment in which women have enough confidence and trust to report incidents of sexual harassment and assault on trains and buses.
Not only is Project Guardian meant to serve justice for women, but on a larger plane it opens up a dialogue about the issues and threats women must contend with on a daily basis. This dialogue is even being brought to social media outlets like Twitter. Commuters can now share their stories and even report incidents in real time, providing a real-life application to the efforts of Project Guardian.
Since Project Guardian has been born out of a joint effort between various police departments of London and women’s rights advocacy groups like Hollaback, Everyday Sexism, and the End Violence Against Women Coalition, there is a legitimacy to the project’s commitment to raising awareness of sexual offences and its aim at prevention. I applaud the project’s efforts to instill confidence in both London’s public transport police and women themselves.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Danbu14 via Wikimedia Commons