Rise in the number of sexual offences across Burnley
More sexual offences were recorded in Burnley over the last year, despite an overall drop in recorded crime.
Lancashire Constabulary recorded 333 incidents of sexual offences in Burnley in the 12 months to December, according to the Office for National Statistics.
That was an increase of 4% compared to the previous year.
At 3.7 crimes per 1,000 people, that was slightly higher than the rate across England and Wales, which stood at 2.5.
The total number of offences in Burnley fell by 7%, with police recording 10,265 crimes over the course of the year.
This puts the overall crime rate at 115.4 per 1,000 people, compared to a national average of 80.8.
Other crimes recorded in Burnley included:
4,238 violent offences, a rise of 2%
2,839 theft offences, down 25%
1,432 incidents of criminal damage and arson, up 3%
234 drug offences, up 31%
87 possession of weapons such as firearms or knives, up 38%
788 public order offences, down 4%
DCI Derry Crorken, of East CID, said: “Lancashire Police take all forms of crime seriously, particularly those committed against the most vulnerable in society.
“While overall crime in Burnley is down, we appreciate the public will be rightly concerned about percentage rises in sexual assaults and we understand that there are victims at the heart of all these offences.
“There are many reasons for rises in some of these crimes, including lockdown pressures and the public feeling confident in reporting offences to the police, knowing that they will be believed and supported.
We have dedicated teams of officers working tirelessly to bring offenders to justice, while working alongside our partners to ensure victims are given the highest level of support.
“Anyone who has been the victim of a crime can call police on 101 or report it online at https://doitonline.lancashire.police.uk.
"You can also self-refer to the SAFE Centre, a specialist unit at Preston Royal Hospital. They offer counselling, support and help with forensic examinations. They can be contacted on 01772 523 344.”
Overall, police recorded 8% fewer crimes across England and Wales – there were around 5.6 million offences in the year to December.
The ONS said the annual drop was mainly driven by a “substantial fall” in crime of 15% between April and June as the first lockdown restrictions were introduced.
While police-recorded crimes increased from July to September as restrictions were gradually eased, they fell again in the last three months of the year as lockdown measures were reimposed, it added.
Sophie Sanders, of the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice, said: “There were fluctuations in the level of crime experienced in England and Wales throughout 2020.
“Although a small proportion of these fluctuations will be the result of seasonal effects on crime trends, the majority can be attributed to the introduction and subsequent easing of national lockdown restrictions throughout the year.
“Most crime types have seen recorded offences fall year-on-year. The notable exceptions are drug offences, because of proactive police activity in crime hotspots during the first lockdown, while violence against the person also saw a small increase.”