Number of reported rapes soars to highest level in decades

Rise has been attributed to improvement in crime recording standards by police

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The Independent Online

Numbers of rapes reported to police have soared by almost one-third over the last year to the highest level in more than a decade, official figures revealed today.

The sharp rise – mirrored by a large increase in sexual offences – was attributed by statisticians to improvements in crime recording standards by police.

It also suggests that victims are becoming more willing to come forward to report an attack.

Police in England and Wales recorded 24,043 rapes in the year to the end of September, a jump of 31 per cent over the previous 12 months. Numbers of other reported sexual offences stood at 48,934, an increase of 22 per cent.

The Office for National Statistics said: “The renewed focus on the quality of crime recording is likely to have prompted improved compliance with national standards, leading to more crimes being recorded than previously.”

Overall police recorded crime showed no change from the previous year, with 3.7m offences recorded over the year.

But the separate Crime Survey for England and Wales, which is based on interviews with the public and considered a more authoritative measure of numbers of offences, suggested crime had fallen by 11 per cent to 7m incidents, the smallest annual total on record.

David Cameron said: “It’s encouraging to see that crime is at its lowest level since records began in 1981. The police are doing a great job.”

Police recorded statistics showed no overall change in crime levels, although figures for violent offences rose by 16 per cent last year to 699,800 incidents. This was also attributed to improved recording techniques.

The Crime Prevention Minister Lynne Featherstone said: “Police reform is working and crime is down by more than 20 per cent under this Government, according to the independent Crime Survey for England and Wales.

“There are now 2.4 million fewer crimes per year than when the coalition Government took office and crime has fallen 63 per cent since its peak in 1995. This is good news for a safer England and Wales.”