What is indecent exposure and what is the penalty?
Victims of indecent exposure by serving Met Police officer Wayne Couzens claim that if their complaints had been properly handled, he could have been prevented from killing Sarah Everard.
Couzens was given a 19-month term for the indecent acts he committed between November 2020 and February 2021 in Kent, a wooded area, and a McDonald's.
The 50-year-old is already serving a life sentence for the March 2021 kidnapping, rape, and murder of Everard.
So what is indecent exposure, how should you report it, and what penalty does it carry?
What is indecent exposure and how can you report it?
According to the Sexual Offences Act of 2003 in Britain, indecent exposure occurs when a person purposefully exposes their genitalia. This is with the goal that others view them, which could be upsetting or distressing.
Also referred to as “flashing”, both men and women are capable of indecent exposure. It can take place in either public or private.
If this happens to you, British Transport Police suggests you should look and move away if you can. Avoid engaging directly with the offender, try not to show a strong emotional response, consider taking a photo of them (only if it is safe), and report it.
If the incident occurs on public transport, you can report it to BTP to prevent it from happening to someone else. In the case of an emergency, call 999 or else text 61016, call 0800 40 50 40 or submit your report online.
What is the penalty?
It is a serious sexual criminal offence, which carries a custodial sentence of up to two years at its most severe.
If you are found guilty of indecent exposure, there are several disposal options available to the court.
The sentence that will be given and whether it will be a prison sentence or not are determined by two considerations. They are the "damage" that the crime causes, as well as the "culpability" of the perpetrator. An offender is then placed in the following category:
Category 1: Raised harm AND raised culpability. Category 1 offences are the most severe and these cases will almost certainly result in a custodial sentence.
Category 2: Raised harm OR raised culpability. Category 2 offences occur with either raised harm or culpability. With more severe Category 2 offences, a custodial sentence will still be imposed. However, a starting point of a High-Level Community Order is taken.
Category 3: Cases without raised harm or raised culpability. Category 3 offences occur when there is not raised harm or raised culpability. In cases with neither raised factor, the court will take a starting point of a Medium-Level Community Order, with a range of a Band A fine and High-Level Community Order.