The number of sexual offences committed in South Yorkshire shot up by more than half last year compared to 2012, new figures have revealed.
Although overall crime is down three per cent for 2013 compared to the year before, the number of sexual offences has increased 51 per cent.
South Yorkshire Police said the figure also includes reporting of historic offences, ‘possibly as a result of the Jimmy Savile investigation’.
Overall, there were 3,040 fewer crimes across the county year-on-year, including a 19 per cent drop in the theft of motor vehicles, a 10 per cent reduction in criminal damage and arson and a 10 per cent drop in drug offences.
But as well as sex offences, other increases included a 15 per cent surge in robbery, while possession of offensive weapons is seven per cent up and shoplifting six per cent up.
Buglary dropped by five per cent and vehicle crime reduced by four per cent.
Chief Constable David Crompton said: “South Yorkshire Police is committed to the robust investigation of any allegations of sexual offences and the increase is a positive indication that victims feel they can report their concerns to the police and other agencies, knowing that they will be afforded the best possible care and support.
“There has been considerable investment from the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner for resources dedicated to tackling child sexual exploitation, as well as the creation of a specialist rape team who provide a holistic service to victims of sexual offences.
“The decreases in burglary and vehicle crime are really encouraging, demonstrating that our targeted Operation Lockdown is having an impact in reducing these crimes across the region.
“It is testament to the hard work and professionalism of our staff, given that we specifically targeted these crime types in the latter half of 2013, that these reductions have been achieved. Nevertheless, we strive to maintain and build upon this improvement.
“The increase in robberies is concerning, although we are already working on initiatives to address this issue and I am confident the figures will improve.
“Overall, SYP’s reduction compares well against other forces across the country.
“Given the challenging financial times we all face, the force is rising to the challenge and we are committed to working hard in order to make the county an increasingly uncomfortable one within which to commit crime.”