Sex offences recorded by police reach 100,000 a year

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The number of sexual offences recorded by police in England and Wales in a year has risen to more than 100,000 for the first time, data has shown.

The figures, from the Office for National Statistics, showed a 29% year-on-year increase in sex crimes in 2015.

The number of rapes was 34,741 and other sexual offences was 68,873, bringing the total to 103,614.

The ONS said the rise reflected better recording and "a greater willingness of victims to come forward".

The increase means the number of rapes and other sexual offences now stands at the highest level since the National Crime Recording Standard was introduced in the year ending March 2003.

The ONS Crime Survey for England and Wales also showed an 11% rise in homicides - a category including murders and manslaughter - to 573 offences in 2015, which was the highest number for five years.

Firearms offences rise

There was a 27% rise in "violence against the person" offences.

The ONS said: "Improvements in crime recording processes by the police are thought to be the main driver of this change."

Firearms offences recorded by police went up 4%.

"This was largely driven by an 18% increase in offences involving imitation and other weapons such as BB guns [a type of air gun] and soft air weapons," the ONS said. "By contrast, offences involving handguns, shotguns and rifles decreased by 1%."

It is the last set of such crime figures before the Police and Crime Commissioner elections as part of next month's local elections.

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