Updated: Monday, 10th December 2018 @ 4:16pm

Sexual assaults in Manchester soar by 15% – but police praise rise in 'brave' victims coming forward

Sexual assaults in Manchester soar by 15% – but police praise rise in 'brave' victims coming forward

By Danielle Wainwright

Sexual offences and public thefts have risen across Greater Manchester by as much as 15%, statistics revealed yesterday.

The figures released from the Home Office show that between July 1 2012 and June 30 2013 thefts have risen to 17% and sexual offences by 15% even though crime as a whole has fallen.

Crime has dropped by 9% but officers are working to decrease sex crimes which specifically rose following a number of historic cases involving Jimmy Saville and other celebrities leading to a nationwide increase in reporting abuse.

The increase in thefts, police believe, is down to a new form of targeting phones with more than 5,000 phones stolen in Manchester last year which led to officers launching Operation Network targeting mobile phone criminality.

Deputy Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: "These figures demonstrate that victims of sexual offences are continuing to have more confidence in coming to the police, which is a positive thing. 

"Broadly speaking however, it is clear that these figures say more about how better equipped GMP is in supporting victims through the investigative process.

"The Operation Network team takes a co-ordinated approach, shares best practice and oversees activity around prevention, intelligence and enforcement. 

"Although it may seem like low level criminality, this is certainly not the case. Organised crime groups are becoming increasingly involved in the theft of mobile phones as this funds further criminal activity.”

Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester Tony Lloyd claimed that seeing crime continuing to fall overall was 'good news' for the communities of Greater Manchester.

“This is thanks to the commitment of GMP officers and staff and the unique partnership model we have in Greater Manchester of local people working with the police and other agencies to build safer communities," he said.

"But we need to remember that behind the statistics are real victims. A drop in crime will be no comfort to the family that have just been burgled or the elderly lady who has just been robbed, which is why we need to make sure the needs of victims are at the centre of everything we do. 

“Greater Manchester Police has improved the way it deals with these horrific crimes and has a team of specialised officers dedicated to investigating them. These victims have made a brave first step, and we need to make sure they are at the heart of what we do and are supported throughout the criminal justice process." 

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