The number of sex attacks reported in South Yorkshire in the last year has rocketed by a massive 81 per cent, new crime figures have revealed.
According to the latest statistics released today, the number of sex attacks - including historic offences - reported to South Yorkshire Police rose between April 2013 and March 2014.
Overall crime fell by one per cent in South Yorkshire - with 945 fewer crimes being committed.
Also up were robberies - by 19 per cent and offences against the person - up 17 per cent.
But the force was today celebrating some success - house burglaries were down 12 per cent and vehicle crime was down six per cent.
Drugs offences were down ten per cent and criminal damage was down seven per cent.
South Yorkshire’s deputy chief constable Andy Holt said: “It has long been understood that sexual offences, child abuse and domestic violence offences are under reported so we want to encourage victims of these life-changing crimes to continue to come forward to police and other agencies.
“Extra funding from Shaun Wright, the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner, has significantly increased the number of public protection officers working in South Yorkshire. I believe this offers additional reassurance that all such offences will be dealt with in a robust and professional manner, with victims provided with the necessary support throughout the criminal justice process.”
Mr Holt added: “The decreases in burglary and vehicle crime are encouraging but we know there is still a lot of progress to be made in these areas of criminality when compared to similar forces.”
He said a recent documentary showing the pressures the force is under because of crippling budget cuts showed the dedication and professionalism of staff who were striving to reduce crime further.
“We will utilise all tactics available to address the areas the police can but my officers and staff can only succeed with support from partner agencies, such as local authorities, blue-light services, the prisons and the probation service, as well as extra vigilance from the public.
“In the latest recorded crime period, for example, nearly 30 per cent of house burglaries were linked to insecure property so please take the time to lock doors and windows, and remove valuable items from view - it really will make a difference.”
The number of reported sex attacks rose nationally.
Mr Holt said: “Overall, South Yorkshire Police’s crime reduction compares well against other forces across the country. “However, we understand crime statistics aren’t always that important to members of the public. “People want to feel safe in their communities and to receive a good service from South Yorkshire Police, should they ever need us, and that is something at the heart of everyone policing the county.”