However, for the women of Glasgow’s south side, a man who breached the position of trust given to the local post has caused great heartbreak.
Irfan William, from Newton Mearns, worked as a postman on the South Side for around nine years and the densely populated area gave him access to hundreds of women on his rounds.
William pleaded guilty to the Glasgow Sheriff Court last month to three counts of harassment and one of sexual assault, all occurring between January 2015 and March 2022 and involving four women.
However, The Herald has spoken to several women residents of the Govanhill area of the city who claim they have been harassed and harassed by William, but who did not report the situation to the Royal Mail or the police as they felt their experience was too minor.
A woman who spoke to The Herald said William was her mail carrier about nine years ago when she lived on her property with her then-boyfriend.
It left such an uncomfortable impression on her that she wrote about her visits on social media.
The woman, who is in her 40s, said she rarely saw William because he was at work full time, but would occasionally see him on weekends.
After a while, he stopped delivering to her building, but in November 2021 he showed up at the door with a package for her.
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She said: “The first time it showed up I was wondering about [my ex partner] And if she had broken up with him.
“William then mentioned that my ex was in a bad mood and implied that he was afraid of him.
“It was very awkward and he was lingering at the door and only kept going when my usual postman came up with letters.
“The creepy thing was that I could remember my partner from so many years before.
“The next day he came back with another package and described himself as my ‘special postman’ and asked me if I now live here on my own and plan to continue living here.
“I felt really uncomfortable enough to talk about it with several friends and post it on Facebook, but I’m sorry I didn’t complain.
“It’s hard when someone comes to your door every day and by the nature of their job they know a lot about you, your moves, your relationships, the things you buy or receive in the mail.”
The woman said that other Royal Mail postal staff who have worked in her building have been friendly and she has established a good relationship with several of them.
While the interaction with William felt very different, the woman, like others The Herald spoke to, said she felt the incidents were too minor to complain about.
She added: “You’re trying to have a relationship of some kind, but it seemed like I was crossing a line and the conversation was intrusive.
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“The kinds of things you asked were not relevant to your job.
“He never came back so I assumed he was just filling in for someone and didn’t take the complaint any further.
“Since finding out what happened to others, I feel like I probably should have, but who would take ‘an upset feeling’ seriously when on the surface it seems like very little happened?”
William was reported to the Royal Mail twice, but the first complaint was made over an incident that occurred while he was off duty and although internal disciplinary procedures were followed, he remained in office.
A second incident was reported in March last year, and because it was sexual in nature, the 49-year-old was suspended and later fired.
The complaint was passed to the police. Scotland and more women came forward with complaints about him.
Constable Philip Mackinnon deferred sentencing for reports and William was released on bail.
The court heard how one of William’s victims allowed him into her home when he asked for a cigarette and began asking personal questions about his sex life and marital status.
As she walked towards the front door, William grabbed her shoulders from behind and hugged her, grabbing her cheek and kissing her hard.
Another woman said she got a former partner to come and open the door to avoid William.
Of the four women involved in the court case, three have moved away and one has installed CCTV on her property to feel more secure.
One such woman, Sarah (not her real name), was living with her partner when William began delivering his publication to her.
Around the same time, his partner started being abusive and he was also in trouble at work over serious issues that would see him suspended and then fired.
William knew his partner, and when the couple separated, he learned that Sarah was now living alone, and began questioning her about what had happened.
She said: “They say creeps are around creeps.
“William knew that bad things were happening in [my ex partner’s work] and I knew that he had moved and I was alone.
“So you were asking me questions when [my ex] I got suspended on what was going on with it, but also more personal questions like ‘why did they break up?’
“That’s the part I found really disturbing.
“He knew personal information about me, he knew that I lived alone and that there was no longer a man.
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“So it all started with all these questions: personal questions about me, personal questions about [my ex]personal questions about my relationship, personal questions about whether I was with someone else, personal questions about what the case was about.
“All of that was making me very uncomfortable.”
Sarah described how William would bring a letter that could easily fit in the mailbox but bang on the door instead of posting it.
She would look through the peephole while he didn’t try to test next door and instead would go straight to her floor to ask him to deliver packages for her neighbor.
She eventually stopped answering the door because her behavior made her very uncomfortable.
Sarah, in her 30s, used to go to work at a nearby cafe and William started showing up there, watching her with his laptop and trying to strike up a conversation with her.
She added: “If he saw me from outside, he would come in, sit down, stare at me, try to strike up a conversation and I would tell him I was working and make it very clear that I didn’t want to talk to him.”
“That escalated until he was hanging out there. He knew what days I tended to go there, what times I would go there and he would be hanging around to see if I would come in and then follow me.”
“It got to the point where I thought it was bothering me at home, when I’m out and when I’m working, I can’t do this.”
At the same time, Sarah’s ex-partner began showing up at the property at dawn to harass her. She slept for a few hours before William showed up.
The pressure became too much and he decided that it would be easier to move home.
Coincidentally, Sarah had a mutual friend with another woman who had been harassed by William and who had reported him to the Royal Mail and the police.
Sarah decided that she too would go to the police and was asked to testify at the court hearing against him.
She said: “William was targeting people until his last breath. Even after he was laid off, he got a job as a courier and was still delivering to people’s doors.”
Speaking to other women involved in the court case, Sarah learned that another woman had reported William to the Royal Mail, but staff had decided not to take action against him.
She added: “How many women have broken up with someone and been in the position that I was in?
“I’m happy with the way Royal Mail handled it in the end, but this poor girl had to be attacked for something to be done about it.
“I didn’t report it at the time because I had enough on my plate, so it was easier to move. And that wasn’t something I should have had to do.”
For the women involved, the case raises the question: how could this have been allowed to happen?
Royal Mail said the company took “immediate action” to suspend William “as soon as” reports of his conduct were made and he was later sacked for gross misconduct.
But after the initial complaint against him, he was allowed to continue working because the incident had occurred out of shift.
Another woman The Herald spoke to said she had also managed to get a man to open the door for William in an attempt to distract him.
She said: “I asked my brother to come and be there when Irfan was delivering the mail. In fact, he had to come twice because the first time, of course, Irfan was not there that day.”
“I am a card-carrying feminist and a grown woman and here I am asking a man to come and protect me. It was infuriating.
“But I am very sympathetic to Royal Mail, not sure what they could have done initially. It’s a real shame, and I include myself here, that more women didn’t report it.
“I don’t want to blame the victim because women are constantly told to ignore their instincts and that they are overreacting and that they should be flattered by the attention.
“In this case, those negative stereotypes have done nothing more than ensure that the perpetrator was protected and the women thought they were being too sensitive.”
Asked if any new policies or procedures would be put in place in light of Williams’ behaviour, a Royal Mail spokesman would not comment but said the “vast majority” of postmen and carriers are “reliable and hard-working people”.
He added: “We always offer all possible assistance to the police in their investigations to ensure that the small minority who abuse their position of trust are prosecuted by the relevant authorities.”