Rape offences recorded by police hit 12-month high
Police forces in England and Wales have recorded the highest number of rapes and the second highest number of sexual offences in a 12-month period, figures show.
There were 61,158 rapes recorded in the year to June, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This was the highest ever recorded annual figure to date and included 17,285 offences between April and June – also the highest quarterly figure.
The second highest number of sexual offences was also recorded in the 12 months to June (164,763), an eight per cent increase compared to the previous year. This was driven by the highest ever recorded quarterly figure (48,553) for the same three-month period in 2021.
Rape accounted for 37 per cent of all sexual offences recorded by police.
Nick Stripe, head of crime statistics at the ONS, said the police figures show a “large increase in the recording of rape and sexual offences during the latest April to June 2021 quarter”, but urged caution when interpreting the data.
He added: “The rise could be due to an increase in victim reporting as lockdowns eased, an increase in the number of victims, or to an increase in victims’ willingness to report incidents, potentially as a result of high-profile cases and campaigns in recent times.”
The police recorded 846,235 offences (not including fraud crimes) flagged as domestic abuse-related for the 12-month period, representing a six per cent increase from 813,958 offences in the previous year.
This included 687,328 offences of violence against the person labelled as domestic abuse-related, a seven per cent increase compared to the previous year.
The ONS said it is “difficult to determine” the levels of domestic abuse in the country using police recorded data because of changes in the way the crimes are reported so “we cannot conclude whether there has been an increase in the number of victims of domestic abuse”.
But it added: “Data from victim services suggests that experiences of domestic abuse may have intensified during periods of national lockdown and that victims faced difficulties in safely seeking support under these conditions.”
The ONS stressed domestic abuse-related crimes and sexual offences recorded by police “do not provide a reliable measure of trends in these types of crime” as improvements in police recording practices and increased reporting by victims have contributed to rises in recent years.”
It added: “The figures do, however, provide a good measure of the crime-related demand on the police.”