Scores of flashers and peeping toms were reported to police in Cambridgeshire last year – with Cambridge revealed as a UK hotspot for perverts.
Across Cambridgeshire as a whole, there were 131 cases of people exposing themselves or spying on others recorded by police in the 12
months to September 2018.
The figure, which come from exclusive analysis of Home Office data, includes instances of upskirting, which up until now has come under the offences of voyeurism or outraging public decency.
However, voyeurism only applies to filming actions taking place in private, while outraging public decency usually requires someone tohave witnessed the action.
From April it will become a criminal offence in its own right, following 18 months of campaigning from upskirting-victim Gina Martin.
Politicians have argued that more also needs to be done to improve conviction rates for these types of crime, to create a “zero-tolerance approach” to sexual violence.
Cambridge as a national hotspot
Cambridge has the highest rate of flashers and peeping toms in Cambridgeshire – and one of the highest rates in England and Wales.
In the city, police recorded 36 cases of people exposing themselves or spying on others in the 12 months to September.
In February last year, a man thought to be over 65 dropped his trousers in Cambridge's Silver Street , and in April a Mill Road flasher slapped one of his victims.
The number of cases translates to roughly 29 displays of perverted behaviour for every 100,000 people who live in Cambridge – a much higher rate than the national average.
Across England and Wales, there were 9,757 recorded cases of people exposing their genitals in public or getting off on secretly observing people.
That works out as 17 instances for every 100,000 people.
'Sexual harrassment and asssault have no place in our society'
Mandu Reid, interim leader of the Womens Equality Party, said: “The seriousness of voyeurism and exposure should not be trivialised, not least because these crimes can be precursors to rape and sexual abuse.
“Evidence shows that mens objectification of women is linked to increased violence towards them, and it is common for the behaviour of
voyeurs to escalate.
“Leniency toward such crimes creates a culture where sexual harassment and violence are endemic.