Crime figures fall but sex offences rise in the west

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Greater willingness of historic sex abuse victims to come forward may have been responsible for a rise in reported sex offences in west Suffolk.

Crime figures released this week for the first three months of 2013/14 show that crime continues to drop across the county, with 578 fewere crimes than the same time last year — a fall of 5.6 per cent.

But while reported sex offences in Suffolk were down by five to 187, a drop of 2.6 per cent, in the west of the county reported offences rose by 11 to 90, a 14 per cent increase.

A police spokeswoman said: “The increase in the number of reported sexual offences across the west of Suffolk is a concern for the constabulary, however due to recent events and high profile cases being reported in the media there has been a significant increase in the number of reports of historic sexual offences.

“Many victims have commented that they feel they now have more confidence to come forward and report cases to the police, feeling that people will now listen to them in relation to offences that were committed a while ago.”

With most other crimes, differences between west Suffolk figures and county ones are due to the numbers of reported crimes being so low that a few offences have a disproportionate affect on percentages.

For example, robbery is up 8.3 per cent in the west while it has dropped 34 per cent across the county, but the increase is due to only one extra crime. Only 45 robberies were reported in the whole county.

Chief constable Douglas Paxton said of the fall: “I believe it demonstrates the dedication and commitment of our officers and staff to keep our county safe.”