THE number of rapes reported across the region has almost doubled in the past year, and reports of other sexual offences are up by 67 per cent.
Hampshire Constabulary’s latest figures show records of rape in Hampshire and Isle of Wight are up 94 per cent in the year to February 2015.
But Detective Superintendent Phil McTavish said the figures did not mean there had been a matching increase in the number of offences committed.
He said: ‘We are seeing an increase in reporting which is welcomed by Hampshire Constabulary as a sign of increased trust and confidence in our approach.
‘Police have also seen a rise in historic cases being brought to our attention.’
Det Supt McTavish said police did everything they could to ensure that victims of sexual offences felt confident enough to report the crimes.
He said: ‘Hampshire Constabulary along with partner agencies provides a high quality service to victims of sexual assault and is working hard to ensure that all eligible cases are referred to the Crown Prosecution Service and a subsequent conviction is sought.’
The figures also reveal there were 8,329 reports of missing people investigated in 2014, 5,979 of which were children.
The statistics come at a time of increasing uncertainty for the force as budget cuts mean Hampshire Constabulary will have to save £25m by April 2016, bringing its total cost cutting up to £80m since 2010.
Speaking at the new Forensic Innovation Centre at the University of Portsmouth, police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes said the cuts would make it hard to keep up standards over the coming years.
He said: ‘Public confidence in policing within Hampshire is high, but for all of our progress in preparing for the future, we have also been reminded this week of the looming spectre of further budget cuts.
‘As I have been saying for many months now, this would have a major impact on the constabulary’s ability to maintain and improve its performance in the future.
‘I therefore invite the public, partners and those from across the political spectrum to join me in the coming months to make the case for protecting police funding and the new services for victims that I am pioneering through my police and crime plan.’
Hampshire Constabulary say 96 per cent of all its police roles are now in ‘frontline’ roles in which officers have direct contact with the public, the third-highest proportion of any force in England and Wales.
The police figures also reveal vulnerability referrals have doubled since 2013.
Chief Constable Andy Marsh said the force was well prepared to deal with future challenges.
He said: ‘Policing is changing as we become more and more focused on working with partners to protect vulnerable people.
‘We are well prepared, having redesigned the force to look and work very differently, but we have also made sure we retain the strong neighbourhood identity that has served our communities so well in recent years.
‘This is a significant change for the force, and while we will look to realise the benefits for our communities as quickly as possible, we will need time, hard work and support from the public to get it absolutely right.’