Cleaning up the streets of London will not be easy.
A wave of public indecency has engulfed the city’s streets and businesses in the wake of the riots in 2011.
In December last year, the Metropolitan Police issued a notice to police officers warning of a “dirty dancing epidemic”.
In the run-up to Christmas, the number of police officers arrested for “indecent exposure” in London soared to more than 20,000.
Now, in a bid to reduce the “vandalism”, the Metropolitan police are making a major announcement to try and tackle the issue.
A report by the public safety and crime committee into the spread of indecent exposure will be released on Tuesday.
It will reveal a raft of changes to the way the Metropolitan policing is handling the problem, including the creation of a new “code of conduct” and an overhaul of the “districts’ approach to dealing with indecent exposure”.
The report is due to be presented to the mayor, Boris Johnson, on Tuesday evening.
What are the changes?
The committee will also consider changes to how the Metropolitan’s Public Protection Unit deals with cases of indecent exposed people.
A new unit, called the “Public Protection Unit” will focus on dealing with cases involving indecent exposure.
A number of changes are proposed, including a new offence of “indefensible exposure”, where someone can be prosecuted for indecent exposure if they are caught committing an act that is “likely to cause harm or distress”.
This will mean police will have the power to arrest people in their own homes for indecent exposures, without having to go through the courts.
It is understood this will be a temporary measure.
There will also be a change to the rules on how officers can deal with indecent exposed individuals in their areas.
Previously, an officer had to be present to ensure that someone was not exposed to their own home or property.
This change means that officers will have to be in the vicinity of someone’s home, regardless of whether they are inside or outside.
“If the officer has to be on the premises, then there is the risk of a very long journey to get to the home where the offence has occurred,” says a police source.
“This is to ensure the safety of people in the area.”
A police source said that it would be up to the police chief, Neil Basu, to decide what the changes mean for officers working on the streets, with a view to deciding whether they should be brought back in.
There are also suggestions that the department could be required to make changes to its training, which currently focuses on “disturbing the peace” and “exercising control over others”.
What are some of the problems?
The report notes that while some of these changes were already in place, the “new code of conduct has been developed in response to a growing number of cases of people exposing themselves in public, as well as incidents of people who were reported for indecent exposed behaviour”.
There is concern that some of those changes could cause further problems for people, such as people who are unaware that they have been exposed.
“A number of the issues raised in the report are also the issues that we are currently working on to address,” says the Metropolitan.
“We have a large number of outstanding matters that need to be dealt with, but as we look ahead, we will be taking steps to reduce incidents of indecent-exposed exposure and ensure that those people who have been arrested do not have to worry about their safety in public places.”
What are police doing?
The Metropolitan Police is currently facing criticism for its handling of the issue, and the changes to policing it.
Earlier this year, two police officers were convicted of indecent exposures in London after officers caught them doing “a number of acts of indecent behaviour” in the street.
Last week, a further two were charged over indecent exposures.
Both were charged under a controversial new offence, which carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.
Police have also come under fire for the use of stop and search powers in some areas, which has led to protests and widespread criticism.
The commissioner of the Metropolitan has admitted that the current policing approach “is not sufficient”.
He has suggested that there should be “a range of options” to tackle the problem.
However, a spokesperson for the Metropolitan said that while the force has “no intention of putting in place a new police force”, it will “ensure the services we have available are available and effective”.
They said that there are a number of measures in place to help police deal with the issue of indecent exposing, including: reducing the number and nature of stop-and-search orders; the creation and maintenance of new policing “hotspots”; and the use and provision of new training and “community awareness”.
What have other cities done?
The number of complaints about indecent exposure in the UK has risen sharply over the past two years, to around 5,000 in the year to March this year.
In response to the problem in the last year