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The introduction of women-only carriages on trains would do nothing to stop the “evils of sexual assault”, a former Met Police commander has said.
A row over female-only carriages erupted again last month after a senior Labour MP suggested the tactic could be an efficient way to stop the rise in sex crimes on public transport.
John Sutherland, a former Metropolitan Police officer, has said the rise of sex assaults on public transport would “not be overcome by isolating potential victims”.
Writing in his blog, he said more needed to be done to change the mindset of attackers.
Mr Sutherland wrote: “We might actually need to look a little further and deeper than that – starting with the urgent need to confront and challenge the mindset and behaviour of men who regard women as no more than objects to be abused for their own gratification.”
The former police officer and author, blasted the idea as “satire colliding with reality” and compared it to a speech made by Naked Gun actor Leslie Neilsen in which he suggested rounding up law-abiding citizens in a bid to keep them safe.
Describing it as a “quick-fix” he added: “We pursue quick fixes – sticking plasters that turn out not to be solutions at all.
“At the same time, we turn away from the prospect of a far greater good – because it requires too much time; too much energy, too much in the way of resources. Because it’s just too damn difficult.”
Some women and girls have suggested they would feel safer when travelling alone or late at night if they had the option use carriages without men.
However, campaigners said the idea would turn sex crimes into “women’s problems”.
Those at the forefront of the fight against sexual violence said resorting to segregation to tackle such crimes undermines efforts to promote gender equality and sends the wrong message to perpetrators.
Although there are no government plans for introducing such measures, the debate on the issue shines a light on the way gender or sex-related abuse is tackled in the UK, they say.
Rachel Krys, the Co-Director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition told the Standard: “The issue lies with the perpetrators. Not with women.”
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