Safer Bradford is intensifying efforts to curb the harassment and abuse faced by female runners, urging perpetrators to “JogOn.” A recent national survey conducted by Runner’s World magazine reveals that 60% of female runners encounter harassment, predominantly from men in cars.

The Safer Bradford partnership, comprising Bradford Council, West Yorkshire Police, and the NHS, is committed to eradicating this issue, which leaves many women feeling frightened and intimidated. The harassment prompts them to seek alternative running routes or adjust their schedules to avoid catcalling, offensive remarks, and, at times, physical harassment.

To delve deeper into the problem, the College of Policing has commissioned Manchester University for further research. Bradford’s Neighbourhood Policing Team has actively engaged with park runs and running clubs to gather local insights, revealing that harassment is a widespread concern across the district. Runners often tolerate such behaviour, not reporting it to the police due to a perceived lack of seriousness or anticipated inaction.

In response, the Police and Safer Bradford have launched the #JogOn campaign—a comprehensive action plan to combat runner harassment. The initiative encourages victims and witnesses to report incidents, ensuring accountability for unacceptable behavior.

Enforcement action sessions have been conducted across the district, featuring female officers in plain clothes running in identified “hotspot” areas. In addition to police measures, Bradford Council can enforce its Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), prohibiting antisocial vehicle use, including verbal abuse and intimidation. Offenders may face a Fixed Penalty Notice or a £1,000 fine.

Members of running clubs are being offered Active Bystander training to empower witnesses to intervene when incidents occur before them.

Superintendent Beth Pagnillo, of Bradford District Police, said: “People might not think these behaviours are worth reporting but we want to make it clear that these behaviours and incidents can be reported, reviewed and investigated and will not be tolerated.

“With the PSPOs in Bradford, these behaviours can be reported, which could lead to a breach in PSPO, and an offence being committed.

“The enforcement, education and engagement undertaken through JogOn allows us to combine efforts through partnership working to tackle these behaviours, encouraging reporting by runners across the district but also to prevent incidents from happening in the first place.”

Cllr Abdul Jabar, Bradford Council’s Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety, said: “No woman should feel unsafe and intimidated when they are out running. Harassment and abusive behaviour is totally unacceptable and we will take action on anyone acting in this way.”

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “The safety of women and girls sits right at the heart of our mission for a safer, fairer West Yorkshire.

“We should all be able to enjoy the benefits exercise can bring, without fear of harassment or abuse.

“Our message remains absolutely clear – these behaviours are unacceptable. The Jog On campaign is reaffirming our commitment to that message and is a fantastic example of the strength of partnership working to improve the safety of women and girls.”

Individuals suspecting a breach of the Public Space Protection Order can contact the council’s Safer Communities Team at safer.communities@bradford.gov.uk.