Number of sexual offences in South Yorkshire up by nearly a fifth

The number of sexual offences recorded by police in South Yorkshire is up 19 per cent, according to a new report.

By Danielle Andrews, Local Democracy Reporter
Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 4:18 pm

Sexual offences increased by 19 per cent between April and September 2021 in comparison to the same period 2020.

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South Yorkshire Police recorded a 21 per cent increase in recordedrape, and 18 per cent for all other sexual offences in comparison to the same period in 2020.

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A national focus on reducing violence against women and girls may have encouraged more people to report sexual offences.

The increase has been put down to a lack of night-time economy during various lockdowns, and a rise in the number of sexual offences being reported.

A report to Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, stated that the number of sexual offences in 2021 returned to the levels recorded in 2018 and 2019.

It added that a national focus on reducing violence against women and girls may have encouraged more people to report sexual offences.

T/Assistant Chief Constable Sarah Poolman told today’s (November 9) meeting: “Throughout the summer months we had pubs shutting at 10pm….and there was no nightclubbing.

“So we did see right across the board a reduction in rape and serious sexual [assault] which is intrinsically linked to the night time economy.

“We’ve now returned to the levels of 2018, 2019, pre pandemic, so we aren’t seeing a rise, if you take 2020 out, we’re not actually seeing a rise in sexual offences.

“The media coverage, particularly around spiking…that is leading to increased reporting. So there’s people who probably thought it wasn’t worth reporting to the police when it’s happened before, and they now are, and rightly so.”

The report added that a team of plain clothed police officers who have been deployed into the night time economy in Sheffield have now been given specialist training in behavioural observations by West Yorkshire Police, tohelp them identify individuals displaying “predatory behaviour”.

“Working in conjunction with uniform colleagues also deployed within the city centre, and others placed within Sheffield City Council’s CCTV facility, the officers focus on the prevention of offences of predatory offences by identifying suspects, carrying out checks and searches where appropriate and obtaining details for further intelligence development,” adds the report.