AN Essex gym boss has reminded members that people are “just here to train” as part of a campaign against harassment or unwanted attention.

Essex Police have discussed the #JustHereToTrain campaign with Gareth Heard, Fusion group sports and community development manager with locations in Rochford, Southend, and Braintree.

This campaign was set up after concerns around harassment or unwanted attentions in gyms.

PS Mike Lee said: “As people are making their New Year’s Resolutions to get fit, we just want to remind gym members and staff that unwanted attention of any kind is unwelcome.

“It has been suggested that some gym members view harassment and unwanted attention when they are working out or attending exercise classes as ‘par for the course’ and it really shouldn’t be.

“No-one should be made to feel anxious in an exercise environment.

“To be fair, unwanted attention and harassment are not major issues in Essex gyms, but it can happen and from conversations with gym staff they are under-reported. Even one victim is one too many.”

Most gyms have a code of conduct or “gym etiquette” and staff will act if they are made aware of an issue.

But Essex Police business crime officers want to educate staff and customers about the laws surrounding stalking and harassment and how to report any crime.

They visit individual gyms to explain to staff how to signpost people to us and to other support agencies as well as how to report crime. They can, in turn, pass this knowledge on to members.

Gareth Heard is the group sports and community development manager of Fusion, which runs leisure centres and gyms for Braintree Council, Rochford Council and Southend Council.

He said: “It is really important our facilities are accessible to all, and we pledge to make sure people feel safe. We want the gyms we operate to be safe environments.

“Our gyms are safe places, but I can understand that sometimes people can feel intimidated although we do our best to make sure they don’t.

“If someone does have an issue, we have our own procedures. But people don’t always want to say something to staff so the #JustHereToTrain posters allow them to get the information they need.

“We are a registered charity and are conscious of our community role. As well as anxiety about the gym environment, there are other barriers, whether that be disability, cultural differences or financial and we are always looking at ways of breaking them down so more people can be active.”