THE number of sexual offences recorded by police in Hampshire has increased by 13 per cent in the last year.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show overall recorded crime fell by three per cent between June 2013 to June 2014, down to 102,412 from 106,100.
Of those, 1,963 crimes were listed as sexual offences.
But Hampshire’s figures were no different to other areas of the country, where the number of sexual offences noted by police was at its highest ever.
In England, more than 63,000 sexual offences were recorded – a 21 per cent rise on the year before.
Experts believe the number of people coming forward because of high profile stories such as those of Jimmy Savile, Rolf Harris and Max Clifford may be encouraging victims to report crimes to the police.
The highest rise in crime year-on-year was violence without injury, which rose by 14 per cent.
Across the county during the year-long period, 11,889 crimes were recorded by Hampshire Constabulary of violence without injury.
The most common type of crime recorded by the force involved theft.
More than 48,000 thefts were recorded between June 2013 and June 2014.
Offences involving vehicles accounted for 7,500 recorded crimes.
A Hampshire Constabulary spokesman said: ‘Our focus is on placing victims and witnesses at the heart of everything we do. There has been an increase in the number of sexual assault reports nationally as well as across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight over the past year, many of which are historical allegations.
‘The constabulary does everything possible to ensure victims feel confident in being able to report these serious crimes to police. The increase in violence without injury locally is also similar to national trends.
‘Our officers and staff include dedicated specialist crime prevention advisors who help protect people from the harm caused by all crime.’