Upskirting now a crime after campaign by Bath MP

Those convicted of upskirting could face up to two years in prison Credit: PA Images

Upskirting becomes a specific criminal offence in England and Wales today following a high-profile campaign led by Bath MP Wera Hobhouse.

The Lib Dem MP worked with 27-year-old writer Gina Martin, who spent 18 months fighting to make the craze a specific offence after two men took a picture up her skirt at a festival in 2017.

Last year in the West Country 14 incidents were reported relating to upskirting.

  • Avon and Somerset: Nine incidents were considered to be upskirting related. The two youngest victims were 13 and the oldest was 37. Four incidents remain under investigation and only one ended in a charge.

  • Devon and Cornwall: Two incidents were reported with female victims aged 23 and 24. Neither resulted in a conviction.

  • Dorset: One incident was reported involved a 15-year-old girl who was upskirted but "evidential difficulties" meant a case was never brought forward.

  • Gloucestershire: Two upskirting incidents were recorded as exposure and voyeurism. One of the cases resulted in a caution.

Until now there's been no specific offence related to taking a photo or video under someone's clothes without their consent. Credit: ITV News

Upskirting's defined as an invasive practice of taking an image or video up somebody’s clothing in order to see their genitals or underwear.

While the vast majority of known cases involve men targeting women, the roles can be reversed.

The Voyeurism Act allows upskirting to be treated as a sexual offence and ensure that the most serious offenders are placed on the sex offenders’ register.

A conviction at magistrates’ court would carry a sentence of up to one year in prison and/or a fine.

A more serious offence, tried in the crown court, would carry a sentence of up to two years in prison.