Sussex Police has launched a campaign to help men recognise sexual harassment and misogynistic behaviour – and to call it out.
The “Do The Right Thing” campaign has been initiated by a force currently led by women.
It has the backing of local celebrities such as Fatboy Slim, actor John Simm, and cricketer Tymal Mills, who have recorded videos of themselves encouraging men to call out inappropriate jokes and acts of harassment, if and when they see them.
Katy Bourne, the police and crime commissioner, said: “The aim of the ‘Do The Right Thing’ campaign is to encourage all men to challenge their friends and colleagues who may cross the line.”
She said she recognises that the “vast majority of men” would never condone or carry out such acts, but there are a “distressing number” who do.
And she is speaking from her own personal experience.
Ms Bourne oversees the all-female-led senior police force in Sussex – but despite her power, she has still had to deal with misogyny.
“I am a public figure, and to a certain extent you expect a lot of brickbats to come your way,” she said.
But Ms Bourne did not expect to have multiple men stalking her.
“When these men fixate you, it makes like really, really challenging,” she said. “I have three men who have custodial sentences because of stalking me. It’s given insight, for sure, into how the victim feels.
“I have also seen first-hand how the criminal justice system treats you throughout the whole process.”
Ms Bourne says these personal experiences have encouraged her to lead the way when it comes to tackling violence against women, and hopes to see more women standing in public office alongside her.
“It’s only by putting women in those positions that things can actually start to change. We have to be the change we want to see,” Ms Bourne continued.
Assistant Chief Constable Tanya Jones is a woman in one of these senior positions.
She says female officers often “bring those personal experiences”, which means when it comes to crimes against women, they “potentially understand it slightly more”.
She added: “Sussex is leading the way. We have just launched a survey, so we can get people’s feedback on how we can tackle crime better and how we can engage better.”
It already runs a Safe Space initiative, providing places for vulnerable people to get help, which it will soon launch as an app, and recently secured more than a million pounds from the government’s Safer Streets programme to fund physical improvements. It says it will put extra money into funding nighttime patrols.
A spokesperson for the National Police Chiefs Council said work is currently under way to publish a “new police framework” which aims to “achieve a common, high stand across policing in preventing and responding to violence against women”.
It added: “All female senior police teams, like that in Sussex, are an example of brilliant women making it to the very top of policing and influencing culture.
“We want to ensure more women join the force but also that they make their way through the ranks to senior positions. I am pleased that over the last quarter, women have made up 45% of new recruits.”