THERE has been a 29% increase in sexual offences committed in Carlisle over the past year according to new figures. 

Cumbria Constabulary recorded 403 incidents of sexual offences, which is line with a nationally high record number of such incidents across England and Wales during the Covid 19 pandemic. 

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In Carlisle, the incident rate stands at 3.7 per 1,000 people, a rate that is higher than England and Wales, in which the rate stood at 3.1. 

Nationally, police forces recorded 183,587 rapes and sexual offences in the year to December 2021 – up 22 per cent on 2020 (150,748), which was previously the highest annual figure to date.

The ONS said the latest statistics may reflect a number of factors, including the "impact of high-profile incidents, media coverage and campaigns on people’s willingness to report incidents to the police, as well as a potential increase in the number of victims".

Cumbria Police said the figures were consistent with other regional statistics which has seen a sharp rise in sex attacks.  

 A spokeman said: "The increase in recorded sexual offences is seen nationally, as well as in Cumbria and can be attributed to many factors, including that the public are now becoming more confident in reporting incidents to police.

"Sexual offences include a range of different offences, with some non-recent offences included.

"We take reports of sexual offences very seriously and work closely with partners to ensure victims have access to the right support and that offenders are held accountable for their crimes.

"We regularly run campaigns in the media and on our online platforms that raise awareness and encourage the reporting of abuse and sexual offences.

"To protect people, we have also provided bespoke training to officers on night shifts in towns. The training provides officers with identifying key markers for potential perpetrators targeting vulnerable people coming out of venues of an evening.

"Despite the increase in reporting, we do believe that this area of crime is still under reported. No one should suffer in silence.

"We would urge anyone who has suffered a sexual offence to report it. You will be taken seriously and you will be supported through any criminal investigation," they said. 

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