MORE SEXUAL offences were recorded in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole over the last year than previously, amid a record high number of such crimes across England and Wales.

Dorset Police recorded 1,313 incidents of sexual offences in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole in the 12 months to December, according to the Office for National Statistics.

That was an increase of 21 per cent compared to the previous year.

At 3.3 crimes per 1,000 people, that was in line with the rate across England and Wales, which stood at 3.1.

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.

Some 37 per cent of sexual offences recorded (67,125) were rapes, a 21 per cent rise from 55,592 in the 12 months to December 2020.

There was also a rise in domestic-abuse related crime in 2021, and stalking and harassment.

Diana Fawcett, chief executive of the charity Victim Support, said she was "seriously concerned" by the latest figures.

She added: “Sadly, these figures reflect what we’re seeing – the number of sexual violence cases referred to us have increased by a third since before the pandemic.

“We also know that court delays for victims of sexual violence are at an all-time high – this is a worrying combination."

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."

It said the overall number of crimes recorded were lower during lockdowns but that there were “substantial increases" from April 2021, with certain offence types returning to or exceeding pre-pandemic levels.

Scroll through the map or search for a postcode to see reports of violence and sexual offences on every road in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole:

The total number of offences in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole fell by one per cent, with police recording 31,305 crimes over the course of the year.

Other crimes recorded in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole included:

  • 11,838 violent offences, a rise of one per cent
  • 10,356 theft offences, down five per cent
  • 3,832 incidents of criminal damage and arson, down six per cent
  • 171 possession of weapons such as firearms or knives, down 28 per cent
  • 2,490 public order offences, up 18 per cent