Rise in sexual offences in Bath and North East Somerset

More sexual offences were recorded in Bath and North East Somerset over the last year, despite an overall drop in recorded crime.

File photo dated 22/10/14 of a Police officer, as according to new figures, some of the UK's biggest police forces have recorded a rise in the number of violent homophobic crimes this year, with hundreds of assaults on gay and lesbian people reported to police so far in 2014 - including more than 300 in London alone. Scotland Yard recorded 1,073 violent homophobic offences between January and October, up from 1,007 in 2013 and 1,002 in 2012.
File photo dated 22/10/14 of a Police officer, as according to new figures, some of the UK's biggest police forces have recorded a rise in the number of violent homophobic crimes this year, with hundreds of assaults on gay and lesbian people reported to police so far in 2014 - including more than 300 in London alone. Scotland Yard recorded 1,073 violent homophobic offences between January and October, up from 1,007 in 2013 and 1,002 in 2012.

More sexual offences were recorded in Bath and North East Somerset over the last year, despite an overall drop in recorded crime.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary recorded 372 incidents of sexual offences in Bath and North East Somerset in the 12 months to June, according to the Office for National Statistics.

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That was an increase of 7% compared to the previous year.

At 1.9 crimes per 1,000 people, that was slightly lower than the rate across England and Wales, which stood at 2.8.

Around 5.8 million offences were recorded across England and Wales in the year to June – in line with the previous year – though there was a 3% decrease to 4.9 million offences when excluding fraud and computer misuse.

Nick Stripe, head of crime statistics at the ONS, said the figures showed overall reductions in the reporting and recording of many crime types during periods of lockdown.

However, reports of fraud and hacking continued to rise – something the ONS previously suggested was due to criminals taking advantage of behavioural changes during the pandemic, while many took to online shopping amid lockdowns when there were restrictions on movement.

The total number of offences in Bath and North East Somerset fell by 11%, with police recording 10,725 crimes over the course of the year.

This puts the overall crime rate at 54.6 per 1,000 people, compared to a national average of 81.3.

Other crimes recorded in Bath and North East Somerset included:

3,585 violent offences, a decrease of 7%3,374 theft offences, down 20%1,270 incidents of criminal damage and arson, up 1%57 possession of weapons such as firearms or knives, down 261,512 public order offences, down 11%

The ONS figures show 61,158 rapes were recorded across England and Wales in the 12 months to June – the highest recorded annual figure to date, and up by 10% from 55,779 the year before.

The second-highest number of sexual offences was also recorded over the period (164,763) – an 8% increase on the previous year.

The ONS urged caution when interpreting the data.

Mr Stripe 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.”

Jeffrey DeMarco, assistant director at the charity Victim Support, said: “Much more needs to be done urgently to tackle both these offences and to ensure that those who come forward and report them are able to access justice.”