Rise in sex crimes sparks call for action
New figures reveal a huge increase in sex crimes reported across the county.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show sex crimes have risen by 33% in Lancashire and 21% nationwide in the last year.
In numbers this means there were 2,656 sexual offences recorded in Lancashire and 106,378 across England and Wales between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016.
A similar rise in sex offences against children is shown in the official data, with a significant number of those crimes taking place wholly or partly online.
Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “What I know is that mobile technology such as smart phones, social media and online gaming are responsible for many of the crimes reported against children.
“Cuts to police forces, schools, victim services and social services up and down the country are not helping us tackle this major issue.
“Child exploitation and abuse isn’t just a police problem, it’s a problem for all of society and we need to come together to tackle this.
“I want to see the Home Office say enough is enough to cutting public services that work to protect children.
“The Government needs to ensure there are more resources to help keep young people safe and, just as important, to ensure our services for victims of crime are protected for the future.”
The Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner recently launched specialist support services for children who are victims of sexual abuse and has already seen a steady flow of young people seek help to cope with the impact of their abuse.
He said: “What we’ve learned too is that those who are abused are more likely to become abusers in the future without the right support so we need to act now to prevent this from happening.”
An additional £1m has also been invested in the Lancashire force to help investigate non-recent cases, which make up a significant proportion of sexual offences against under 16s reported to Lancashire Police.
The Commissioner added: “I am heartened that reporting is increasing in Lancashire, because it means all our campaigning and efforts at raising awareness are having an impact, and that people feel confident that they can report and they will be listened to.
For more information on Nest Lancashire that works to support young victims of crime see nestlancashire.org
National crime figures can be found here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/releases/crimeinenglandandwalesyearendingmar2016