Big rise in sex crimes is ‘reminder of failure to protect women’

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Overall police-recorded crime hit a record high and stood at 6.5 million in the 12-months to June 2022 in England and Wales, up from the previous all-time high of 6.3 million in the year to March.

The figure is also a 12 per cent rise compared with the year to June 2021, when crime levels were affected by lockdown restrictions.

But the deeply disturbing data revealed the total includes 196,889 sexual offences, up one fifth year-on-year from 164,043 – and 21 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels.

The number of recorded sexual offences fell during periods of lockdown, but there have been “substantial increases” since April 2021, said the Office for National Statistics.

The vulnerability of women in modern-day Britain is laid bare after sickening attacks including the kidnap, rape and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard by PC Wayne Couzens and the horrific killing of Sabina Nessa, 28, both in London.

The monstrous acts led to vigils, marches and protests by tens of thousands of women. It prompted the Daily Express to launch its widely backed Keep Women Safe On Our Streets campaign to stamp out violence, intimidation and harassment.

Yesterday’s charities demanded more action from police.

Ruth Davison, chief executive of Refuge, which ­supports women and children suffering domestic violence, said: “The latest crime statistics are another horrible reminder of the continued failure of the police to protect women and girls.

“It was only last week that the CPS released figures which showed there were fewer domestic abuse convictions in the last quarter than at the peak of covid when most courts were closed. We have been told repeatedly that ­violence against women and girls is a priority for the police – when will we see them act on their words?

“Urgent root and branch reform of the police is needed – to regain some of the trust which has been lost in the wake of numerous high-profile failures and rising crime numbers like those released yesterday.

“Women’s needs have been ignored in favour of protecting a misogynistic culture in police forces. They need to act now.”

There were 70,600 rapes recorded in the year to June, another record high and an increase of 20 per cent from 59,046 in 2019/20.

The number has nearly doubled in just over six years, from 36,321 in 2015/16.

Domestic abuse-related offences totalled 912,181 in the year to June, up six per cent on the previous 12 months and up 14 per cent on 2019/20.

Diana Fawcett, Chief Executive of Victim Support, said: “This huge increase in sexual violence, in particular rape, reported to the police is seriously alarming and a stark reminder the Government needs to get a grip on staggeringly low conviction rates and ­horrendous court delays. Things simply can’t go on like this – women deserve better.”

The figures also showed 2.1 million violent crimes against the person were recorded by police in the 12 months to June, up 13 per cent year-on-year and up 20 per cent on ­pre-pandemic levels.

Comparable data for police-recorded crime started in 2002. Knife crime remains below ­pre-pandemic levels, mainly because the number of knife-enabled robberies was 27 per cent lower in the year to June compared with 2019/20.

A total of 49,991 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument were recorded by forces in the 12 months to June, up eight per cent year-on-year but below the 55,076 offences in the 12 months to March 2020.

Levels of knife crime fell during the early part of the pandemic due to government r­estrictions on social contact.

Homicide numbers are also still below ­pre-pandemic levels, with 679 in the year to June, a drop of five per cent on the year to March 2020. The Government promised to recruit 20,000 officers by March 2023. To date, some 15,343 have already joined.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “My first ­priority is to protect the British public from harm and I am absolutely steadfast in my ­determination to drive down crime.

“With the extra officers I want to continue to see forces doubling down on tackling murder, serious violence and ­neighbourhood crimes which tear communities apart.”

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