Victim support groups have said “women deserve better” after a sharp rise in violent and sexual offences led to a record high for police-recorded crime in England and Wales.
New figures show a total of 6.5 million crimes were recorded in the 12 months to June 2022, up from the previous all-time high of 6.3 million in the year to March.
The figure is also up 12% compared with the year to June 2021, when crime levels were affected by Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
The number of recorded sexual offences fell during periods of lockdown but there have been “substantial increases” since April 2021, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which published the figures.
New figures show a total of 6.5 million crimes were recorded in the 12 months to June 2022, up from the previous all-time high of 6.3 million in the year to March. Joe Giddens
The total includes 196,889 sexual offences, up 20% year-on-year from 164,043 and 21% higher than pre-pandemic levels.
Reacting to the figures, Diana Fawcett, chief executive at the charity Victim Support, said: “This huge increase in sexual violence, in particular rape, reported to the police is seriously alarming and a stark reminder that the government needs to get a grip on staggeringly low conviction rates and horrendous court delays.
“Things simply can’t go on like this – women deserve better.”
The ONS said the increases in recorded sex offences may reflect “media coverage and campaigns on people’s willingness to report incidents to the police”, as well as “the impact of high-profile incidents”.
Incidents such as the murder of Sarah Everard led former Prime Minister Boris Johnson to publicly say it was “infuriating” that cases involving violence against women and girls were not being taken seriously enough by police.
Met Police officer Wayne Couzens was handed a whole life sentence on September 21 last year for the kidnap, rape and murder of the 33-year-old marketing executive.
Met Police officer Wayne Couzens was handed a whole life sentence on September 21 last year for the kidnap, rape and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard Met Police
The killing on March 3 last year prompted the force to vow to make the streets safer for women and girls.
The ONS said the increase in recorded sexual offences could also reflect “a potential increase in the number of victims”.
Some 2.1 million violent crimes against a person were recorded by police in the 12 months to June, up 13% year-on-year and up 20% on pre-pandemic levels.
Comparable data for police-recorded crime begins in 2002.
There were 70,600 rape offences recorded in the year to June, another record high and an increase of 20% from 59,046 in 2019/20.
The number has nearly doubled in just over six years, from 36,321 in 2015/16.
Victim support groups have said “women deserve better” after a sharp rise in violent and sexual offences led to a record high for police-recorded crime in England and Wales. Dominic Lipinski
Domestic-abuse related offences totalled 912,181 in the year to June, up 6% on the previous 12 months and up 14% in 2019/20.
Some of this increase “may reflect improvements seen in recording and reporting over the last few years,” the ONS added.
Knife crime remains below pre-pandemic levels, mainly because the number of knife-enabled robberies was 27% lower in the year to June compared with 2019/20.
A total of 49,991 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument were recorded by forces in the 12 months to June, up 8% year-on-year but below the 55,076 offences in the 12 months to March 2020.
Levels of knife crime fell during the early part of the pandemic due to government restrictions on social contact.
Homicide numbers are also still below pre-pandemic levels, with 679 recorded in the year to June, a drop of 5% on the year to March 2020.