Women say they remain worried as a police investigation into a prolific flasher continues five weeks on.

Several lone women were targeted in a string of indecent exposure offences in Southampton at the start of May.

Police ramped up patrols in search for the offender but with no conclusive answers more than a month later, women have told the Echo that more needs to be done.

Their concerns come after statistics have revealed 112 incidents of sexual and violent offences reported to Hampshire Constabulary in March resulted in no suspect being identified.

But the force is keen to reassure city residents that they are determined to bring the person responsible to justice.

‘A precursor to serious offences’

Police stepped up patrols in the Riverside Park area after the spate of incidents (Image: Newsquest)

Three of the reported incidents of indecent exposure occurred near Riverside Park on May 2 from late afternoon to early evening.

Sarah Clayton, who lives in Southampton, often visits the park but is now having second thoughts.

She said: “It doesn’t make me happy knowing someone like that, who is flashing women, is around.

“This is often a precursor to more serious offences, and that is what worries me.

“There needs to be more of a police presence in the park, maybe a special constable for the area to help with the safety of women and children.”

Kati Pawlowska, 37, walks her dog in the park twice a day.

Although she was pleased to see a heightened police presence in the days after the offences, she said: “It would be good if police had caught the person by now.”

‘Extremely concerning’

Protestors in Riverside ParkProtestors demanded further safety measures for women in a demonstration in Riverside Park (Image: Newsquest)

Protestors recently gathered at Riverside Park to help demand further safety measures for women.

Many attendees felt the area is no longer safe for females – at night and during the day.

Among those in attendance was Cllr Christie Lambert, cabinet member for safer city.

Despite the ongoing investigation, she is "fiercely dedicated" to ensuring the council is using whatever resources available to tackle violence against women and girls and all forms of anti-social behaviour.

She said: “We simply cannot abide aggressive or dangerous behaviour that would make anyone in our city feel unsafe.

“We will continue to work closely with police through our Safer City Partnership to ensure any violent or aggressive behaviour is dealt with swiftly and that the appropriate measures are taken to deter future incidents and ensure all Southampton residents and visitors feel safe in our city.”

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As of May 15, a 33-year-old from West End was arrested on suspicion of six counts of indecent exposure.

The man has been released from police custody on conditional bail until August 15 to allow for further enquiries to continue.

Donna Jones, the police and crime commissioner for Hampshire, described the incidents as "extremely concerning".

She said: “People who act in this way can go onto commit more serious sexual assaults.

“Risks to women and girls in this area have been a priority for the last few years. Anyone with any information should contact the police immediately.

“Riverside Park is an area of the city where people have felt unsafe which is why through the Safer Streets funding we have installed more lighting and CCTV.”

What is the police doing?

(Image: Newsquest)

According to the force, officers have spoken extensively with members of the public in the impacted areas, asking them to report any information that may assist the investigation.

Uniformed and plain clothed officers continue to patrol the affected areas and are working with Southampton City Council on longer term safety measures in and around Riverside Park.

Southampton Chief Inspector Chris Douglas said: “Since these incidents were reported to us on May 2nd, we have reviewed hundreds of hours of CCTV footage from 19 surrounding roads and premises and are continuing to look into CCTV footage from buses in the area.

“We continue this work in order to gather all the available evidence in order to secure a charge and bring the person responsible before the courts.

“We realise that it may be frustrating, and even concerning, to some that we have not yet charged anyone in connection with this series, however in a series involving multiple crimes such as this one there are often many lines of enquiry to follow in order to gather all available evidence, and this does take time.

“We take all reports of violence against women and girls extremely seriously, and urge anyone who has been the victim of any incidents to please continue reporting them to us on 101 or via our website.”