‘Alarming’ rise in sex offences in South Yorkshire

ACC .Jo Byrne
ACC .Jo Byrne

Sex offences in South Yorkshire have rocketed by an ‘alarming’ 70 per cent over the last year, new figures reveal.

Police chiefs believe publicity around a number of high- profile cases has led to more victims coming forward to report offences.

Nationally it is thought the Jimmy Savile scandal has led to a surge in victims coming forward to report crimes.

Assistant Chief Constable Jo Byrne said: “The rise in the number of sexual offences may appear alarming, however we can reassure the public that this is a national trend, thought to be due to improved recording of such offences and also a sign that more victims and survivors are coming forward to report their experiences.

“We believe that as a result of a number of high-profile investigations, victims and survivors trust that they will be supported and listened to.”

Recorded crime in South Yorkshire increased by three per cent between June 2014 and June 2015.

In addition to sex offences, there was a 25 per cent hike in violent crime and a 20 per cent rise in public order offences.

But burglaries of homes fell by 10 per cent and there was an 11 per cent drop in thefts from vehicles.

ACC Byrne said: “We hope that the residents of South Yorkshire feel reassured by these figures, in particular the reduction in burglary and theft offences.

“Over the last 12 months we have run a number of targeted operations and campaigns around crime prevention and putting the spotlight on offenders which we believe has had an impact within communities.

“We know how traumatic a burglary can be, which is why we continue our large-scale efforts into reducing the volumes of burglary.”

She said the increase in violence is down to a change in the way offences are now recorded.

And she blamed the hike in public order offences on the number of demonstrations there have been in South Yorkshire over the last year, including right-wing marches in Rotherham.

The figures come at a time when South Yorkshire Police is battling to save £59 million by 2020 because of government-imposed funding cuts.

“Across all types of crime we remain committed to delivering the best possible service to victims of crime as well as bringing those responsible to justice,” said ACC Byrne.