Brighton women speak out about ‘cyber flashing’ on city buses

Unsolicited indecent images can be reported to the British Transport Police by texting 61016 or calling 101
Unsolicited indecent images can be reported to the British Transport Police by texting 61016 or calling 101

Brighton women who were sent unsolicited indecent photographs while travelling on buses around the city have spoken out about their experiences.

‘Cyber flashing’ is the sending of indecent images via iPhone feature AirDrop, a feature used to share files to people who may not be on their contacts list.

One said she was targeted three times in a short space of time when she accidentally left her Bluetooth turned on while on the bus, describing the incidents as ‘sinister’.

A second woman said: “I don’t know if it’s a sick new way that people are targeting women and attempting to make them feel unsafe or pick them up that I’m not aware of but it made me feel incredibly violated and ill.”

Cyber flashing is not a specific criminal offence but allegations would be treated as a hate crime, Sussex Police public transport liaison officer Jay Jackson said.

The woman who was targeted three times said her case could not be fully investigated by Sussex Police because she did not want her name to be shared with the alleged offender.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “The reports were investigated but the woman subsequently advised us that she did not wish to provide any further information or to support any prosecution so it has not been possible [to] take the matter further.”

Marie Sansom, communications manager at Brighton and Hove Buses, confirmed it had received complaints from two individuals about cyber flashing while on its buses.

She said: “We encourage people to report any incidents like this to their bus driver, the police and to our customer service colleagues, who will work with our safeguarding team and investigate.

“All of our buses have CCTV and we will supply footage to the police in cases like this, as well as investigate them ourselves.”