Paedophiles and sex offenders receiving record sentences as number of convictions soars

The spike in prosecutions is putting pressure on prison numbers

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The Independent Online

Soaring numbers of paedophiles and other sex offenders are being convicted and are receiving record prison sentences, new figures have disclosed.

More than 6,400 were convicted in England and Wales in the year to the end of March, a rise of ten per cent, while prosecutions were up by three per cent.

Statisticians said the growing number being brought to court was partly caused by the focus on Jimmy Savile’s crimes and other investigations into historic child abuse.

The Ministry of Justice figures also showed sex offenders now receive an average prison sentence of five years and three months, the highest figure on record.

The spike in convictions is putting pressure on prison numbers, with around 11,500 sex offenders in the jail population of 86,200.

Andrew Selous, the Justice minister, said: “These figures show sex offenders are receiving harsher punishment than ever before for their appalling crimes.

“Longer sentences will be welcomed by victims, who deserve to know that those who commit these sickening acts are properly held to account.”

The statistics indicated that serious and violent offenders are more likely to go straight to prison than at any point in the last ten years. More than one-quarter (27 per cent) of people convicted of indictable offences such as rape, robbery and aggravated burglary, receiving an average sentence of almost 19 months.