Fewer victims of historic sex crimes are coming forward in the wake of the so-called “Yewtree effect”, figures have revealed.
The number of reported sexual offences has repeatedly risen since abuse allegations against late DJ Jimmy Savile emerged and Scotland Yard launched its national sex crime inquiry, Operation Yewtree.
New figures showed that, in the year to December 2013, the number of sex crimes reported rose by 17%; however, the proportion that was historic offences dropped.
According to police figures for England and Wales, in 2013 historic sexual offences - defined as crimes that occurred more than 20 years ago - made up 41% of the increase, but this is now 21%.
And in the quarter ending June 2013, offences that occurred in the last 12 months made up 24% of the increase, and in the three months to December 2013, it made up 50%.
In West Yorkshire there was a large rise in the number of sex crimes, up by 20% on 2012.
But senior officers are convinced there are valid reasons and claim they are well-prepared to deal with victims.
West Yorkshire Police Deputy Chief Constable, Dee Collins said: “The latest crime statistics are encouraging and reflect the considerable emphasis we have placed upon priority offences such as burglary, robbery and drugs. Operation Viper has been instrumental in achieving significant reductions in crime, and we are continuing to build upon this success.
“Although we have seen a rise in sexual offences over this particular period, there are contributory factors. High profile cases seen in the media, for instance, have increased reporting. The Force’s ‘Know the Signs’ campaign surrounding child sexual exploitation has also played a key role in raising awareness. We have also strengthened our service to victims of sexual abuse through the development of a survey which will enable us to learn from their experiences and improve upon our performance.
“In terms of vehicle crime, we have increased our focus upon this, targeting known offenders through Operation Viper. We have also implemented new technology, including a piece of software which allows us to quickly search online auction sites for stolen goods. Likewise, our Neighbourhood Policing Teams have undertaken significant work to raise awareness, particularly around crime prevention measures.
“Through this concerted effort, we are beginning to see reductions in theft from motor vehicles with 130 fewer incidents across West Yorkshire in April compared to the same period the previous year.
“Although we are moving in the right direction, we are by no means complacent and continue to drive forward in ensuring our communities are safe and feel safe.”
Data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales showed that there had been a 15% overall drop in crime compared with the previous year, while police figures showed a 2% fall.
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