Bromley and Chislehurst MP Bob Neill has slammed ‘upskirting’, the act of taking pictures of women’s underwear without their consent, and believes it should be a criminal offence.

Mr Neill got involved in a discussion on the subject with writer and activist Gina Martin, 25, on Radio Live 5.

A petition was started by Ms Martin to make it illegal under the Sexual Offences Act after a man took a photo of her underwear at a music festival and shared it with another man.

Ms Martin grabbed the phone off the man and took it to security guards and the identities of the men were made known to the Met Police.

However, the Met told Ms Martin they could not continue with the case because the image was not graphic enough.

The petition here has been signed by 64,224 at the time of writing.

The Met has now reopened the case.

It is possible to prosecute someone for filming up women's skirts under a set of different laws such as voyeurism and outraging public decency.

However, there is no specific law that makes ‘upskirting’ illegal.

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Mr Neill told News Shopper: “Our laws need to keep pace to protect people from new offences that emerge. ‘Upskirting’ is a deplorable violation of someone’s privacy, and I believe the law needs updating to make this a criminal offence.

“The secretary of state is in the process of seeking expert advice on this problem, which is an entirely sensible thing to do, and having spoken with Gina Martin earlier this week, I look forward to seeing what proposals the Government brings forward.”

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Justice secretary David Lidington said that he would consider adding ‘upskirting’ to the Sexual Offences Act.

He said: ‘I’ve taken very seriously the representations made not only by Gina Martin, but from some of the police and crime commissioners around the country.

“I’ve asked for detailed advice on this, but I hope he would understand that before proceeding to commitment to legislation I want to be absolutely certain that this would be the right course to take.”