THE ‘WORRYING’ number of sexual offences reported in the West Mercia area is likely to continue to rise, a leading police chief has warned.
As we reported last week, 1,992 sexual offences were recorded by West Mercia Police over the last 12 months, with 697 of those reported as rape.
Concerns were expressed at a West Mercia Police and Crime Panel meeting last month as the number of reported rapes had surged by 76 per cent.
But Chief Constable David Shaw, who spoke out at the meeting at County Hall, said he did not expect to see the number to fall ‘any time soon’.
The force believe the Jimmy Savile scandal had played a part in the increase due to the amount of victims coming forward and Mr Shaw felt this would continue to impact on the numbers.
“The one (trend) that does professionally trouble and worry me is around sexual violence and we are doing a huge amount of work to try and turn that one around,” he said.
“If I had to put my reputation on whether I think those crime trends are going to change, I would expect them still to continue to a rise in sexual violence for quite some time to come.
“Partly this is because of historic offences.
“Also and perversely I welcome a scenario whereby more victims feel they can come forward, so the statistics might go up, but it is actually a reflection of people having more confidence in policing and the criminal justice system.
“So it is always a complex narrative that sits behind these, but I don’t expect to see those numbers fall any time soon.”