Domestic Abuse And Rape Reports On The Rise In West Midlands

23 April 2015, 08:18 | Updated: 23 April 2015, 08:36

There's been a 20 per cent increase in serious sexual offences last year, including rape, reported to West Midlands Police.

Reports of domestic abuse cases also rose by 5,000 to more than 17,000 last March - which police say is down to more victims speaking out.

The low was around 12,000 between 2011 and 2012.

Meanwhile West Midlands Police homicide detectives investigated 23 murders in the last 12 months the lowest rate in more than ten years.

There was just more than 500 gun crime incidents between April 2014 and March 2015 - down from 1,200 a decade ago - and notably not a single fatal shooting.

Knife crime is also down - 1,500 knife crime incidents in 2014-15 represent a three-fold reduction since the peak in 2006-07.

Figures for 2014-15 show a ten per cent fall in burglary compared to the previous 12 months - with 1,276 fewer people suffering the distress of a break-in - while 474 fewer robberies were reported over the same period (down almost nine per cent).

Deputy Chief Constable Dave Thompson, said: “It’s reassuring to see increased reporting of domestic abuse and sexual offences: it shows victims have greater confidence they will be listened to by our officers, taken seriously, and their report will be investigated fully.

“We’ve doubled the number of officers in our Public Protection Unit - specialist officers who are on hand 24-7 to safeguard and support victims - and run some high-profile campaigns urging survivors to speak out. I’m delighted the message is hitting home and fewer people are suffering in silence."

West Midlands Police answered 535,759 emergency 999 calls and almost 1.2-million non-emergency 101 calls in 2014-15.

Total crime was marginally up (by 1.1%) but hugely down on 2002-03, when modern-day crime recording began, when the force registered in the region of 350,000 offences.

And when compared with similar sized police regions like Merseyside, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire, the West Midlands has the lowest crime rate per head of population.

DCC Thompson, added: “We have dedicated units tackling gangs and gun crime…they are disrupting criminal networks across the region and stepping in before disputes have the opportunity to escalate into murders.

"The expansion of our Public Protection Unit has also contributed to the falling murder rate as we’re urging domestic abuse sufferers to come forward at an early stage and report incidents to us - that means we can protect them, get them into places of safety and take action against offenders before violence escalates."