Sex crimes reported to police at highest level since current records began


The number of rapes and other sex crimes reported to police are at their highest level since current records began, new figures show.

Sex offences reported to forces in England and Wales rose by 26,606 in the year to September 2015, an increase of 36% on the previous 12 months, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found.

The 43 forces recorded just under 100,000 sex offences in total, the highest figure since the current method of reporting began in 2003.

The ONS report said forces recorded 33,431 rapes and 66,178 other sexual offences, a total of 99,609 that was the highest since the National Crime Recording Standard was introduced 13 years ago. Recorded separately, rape reports rose 39% year-on-year and other sex crimes 35%.

The report noted: "It is thought rises in police recorded sexual offences are likely to be due to an improvement in recording by the police and an increase in the willingness of victims to come forward and report to the police.

"Previous increases in the number of sexual offences reported to the police were shown to have been related in part to a rise in the reporting of historical offences following 'Operation Yewtree', which began in 2012.

"Analysis of records from the Home Office Data Hub indicates that both current and historical offences continued to rise in the year ending September 2015 compared with the previous year. However, the major volume contribution to this increase comes from current offences."

As well as sexual offences, police forces recorded a 4% increase in gun crimes, the first time firearms offences have risen since 2008. Knife crimes also rose by 9%.

Overall, crime reported to police last year increased by 6% over 2014 to 4.3 million offences, with the ONS attributing it to "a greater proportion of reports of crime being recorded in the last year, following improved compliance with national recording standards by police forces".