Rapes now at their highest ever level, ONS figures reveal!Watch
Rapes reported to and recorded by police in England and Wales are now at their highest ever level, official figures reveal.
Rapes recorded by police in England and Wales are now at their highest ever level, official figures reveal.
Office for National Statistics figures also showed violent crime recorded by the police has jumped by 11 per cent.
More than 22,100 rapes were recorded, a 29 per cent rise, to reach highest ever levels among nearly 68,000 sexual offences.
The figures showed a huge surge in the number of rapes involving a knife or sharp instrument - a 48 per cent increase to 294 offences.
Aside from knife-point rapes there was also a surge in the number of sexual assaults which involved a blade, up 22 per cent to 111 in the year to June.
However, robberies involving knives fell 10 per cent to 11,500.
The increase in all kinds of sex crimes is thought to be largely due to growing confidence among victims that police will treat their complaints seriously, following intense scrutiny of police handling of cases such as Jimmy Savile, the prolific paedophile and BBC broadcaster.
The unexpectedly large increase in overall violent crime meant there were 666,700 cases of "violence against the person" in England and Wales in the 12 months to the end of June.
It meant there were an extra 69,000 violent crimes recorded in the year compared with the previous 12 months.
Recorded crime showed a five per cent increase in shoplifting and a six per cent rise in public order offences. Fraud rose eight per cent.
The Office for National Statistics said the rise in violence was likely to be due to police forces complying more closely with rules on recording crime.
Many forces have tightened up the way they record crime in the wake of widespread allegations that police were "fiddling the figures".
However the picture was further complicated by a second set of figures which indicated violent crime was falling.
The Crime Survey of England and Wales a poll which asks thousands of people about their experiences if crime, estimated violence fell 23 per cent in the same period.
Overall levels of recorded crime were stable at 3.7 million, the figures showed, while CSEW data indicated a 16 per cent decrease in crime to 7.1 million incidents.
There was a five per cent rise in hate crime, with 44,480 offences recirded in the year, which the ONS said was likely to have been driven by the reaction to the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich, south-east London, by Islamist attackers.
The crime statistics have been seriously discredited following a number of revelations brought to light by a major House of Commons inquiry.
Earlier this year the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA), stepped in and stripped the figures of their “national statistics” kitemark, meaning they now effectively carry a health warning.
Former police constables James Patrick said statistics are routinely fiddled. It led Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, to admit the allegations contained a “truth we need to hear”.
Lord Stevens of Kirkwhelpington, the former Scotland Yard commissioner, admitted the police regularly fiddle crime figures, and had done so for decades.
Chief Constable Jeff Farrar, the Association of Chief Police Officers spokesman on crime statistics, said: "The latest crime statistics again demonstrate the police service’s ongoing commitment to reducing overall crime and improving the way we record it.
"We said that we would be more consistent in our approach to crime recording; the continued narrowing of the gap between the crime survey, based on people’s own experiences, and police recorded crime shows that we are doing just that.
“It’s reassuring to see increased reporting of sexual offences, as this shows that victims of abuse have greater confidence that if they report to the police they will be listened to, taken seriously and their report will be investigated fully, regardless of when the offence took place.
"The increase in reports of fraud can also be attributed to the recent changes in the way that we record crimes rather than an actual increase in incidents.
“Although police recorded violent crime is up, the crime survey shows a clear reduction in violent crime. I believe this shows that our commitment to recording crimes more consistently, with a particular focus on domestic abuse offences, is having a positive impact."
Norman Baker, the crime prevention minister, said: "Police reform is working and crime is down by more than 20 per cent under this government according to the independent CSEW.
"There are now 2.3 million fewer crimes per year than when the coalition government took office. That includes 413,000 fewer acts of violence and 160,000 fewer burglaries, with criminal damage down by 962,000 incidents. This is good news for a safer England and Wales.
"There are also positive signs that police recording of crime is improving, and that more victims of crimes such as sexual offences and fraud are coming forward — which is something we welcome.
"It is vital that police recorded crime statistics are as robust as they can be. That is why the Home Secretary asked Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary to carry out a detailed investigation of recording practices in all 43 forces. HMIC's final report is due shortly and we expect chief constables and police and crime commissioners to act on its recommendations.”
But Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said a disturbing picture emerged when the new rape statistics were compared with other figures on the number of rape allegations which actually reach prosecution.
"Under the Tories fewer serious criminals are being brought to justice, and more rapists and abusers are getting away with awful crimes," said Miss Cooper.
“These figures show a shocking failure to help rape victims and bring dangerous criminals to justice.
"There has been a 29 per cent increase in reported rapes in the last year yet a 28 per cent drop in the number of rape cases referred to the Crown Prosecution Service and a 14 per cent drop in prosecutions under this Government.
“Child sex offences are also increasing in these figures, but again there have been fewer prosecutions and convictions and more abusers and criminals are walking free.
"And the massive increase in online child abuse isn't even properly reflected in these figures as more than 20,000 cases reported to the National Crime Agency are not even being listed as crimes."
She added: “For the past four years the Home Secretary and Prime Minister have been saying frontline police officers can be cut because they are recording fewer crimes, yet now we see the police recording 11 per cent more violent crimes, as well as increases in shoplifting and knife offences.
“Crime is changing and it is clear – with the huge divergence in recorded crime and the survey – the figures are not picking it up. The scale of the growth in online crime, online child abuse, and crimes against business are not being picked up in these figures. And the police don't have the capacity and structures to deal with these growing new crimes.”
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