Sexual offences across Lancashire have increased by almost 18 per cent in the last 12 months.
Statistics for July 2012 to June 2013 show reductions in the majority of crime categories but sexual offences saw an increase of 261 crimes – or 17.7 per cent – up from 1,477 to 1,738.
Lancashire police said today that they are putting the increase in sexual offences down to victims being more confident in reporting incidents.
On the whole crime is continuing to fall, from July 2012 to June 2013 were 4,088 fewer victims of crime compared to the previous year. And reports of crime fell by 4.3 per cent from 95,692 to 91,604 in comparison to the previous year.
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Bates said the overall decrease was “reassuring”
He added: “There is no doubt that the nature of policing demand is changing with an even greater emphasis needed on supporting vulnerable people within our community. Just as our communities increasingly feel challenged, this presents new challenges within the Constabulary as some crimes do show signs of increases during this financial year”.
“We are putting the increase in sexual offences down to the public feeling more confident about reporting these types of incidents to us, especially given the publicity in the media around high profile sexual offence cases. Despite a reduction in crime overall, our aim now is to try to sustain our focus on supporting the vulnerable in partnership in our communities, despite the financial challenges we are facing as a force.”
The figures show a 17.4 per cent reduction in drug offences, from 4,793 to 3,961 – 832 fewer crimes.
Criminal damage is also down by 9 per cent from 18,232 to 16,589 and robbery has reduced in Lancashire by 7.5 per cent from 679 offences to 628.
In addition, there were 220 less public order offences, with crimes falling 7.8 per cent and 150 less violence against the person crimes which reduced by 0.8 per cent.
Theft offences were reduced by 1,384 crimes from 47,429 to 46,046 and there were 51 fewer people caught in possession of weapons.