Spike in domestic abuse cases and serious sex attacks but solved rate in Suffolk is going down

Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner.

Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner. - Credit: Archant

Suffolk has seen a sharp spike in serious sexual assaults and domestic violence reports over the past year – but the number of cases police are solving is falling, according to new figures.

DCI Barry Byford of Suffolk Constabulary

DCI Barry Byford of Suffolk Constabulary - Credit: Archant

New data released by the office of the Suffolk police and crime commissioner reveals almost 5,400 domestic abuse cases were reported to police in Suffolk from June 2016 to the same month this year.

That’s an increase of 39% against a three-year average.

In June 2017 alone, 556 cases were reported – which is the equivalent of almost 20 reports per day. A similar spike is seen with serious sexual assaults, which include crimes such as rape and attempted rape.

Within the same period, 1,357 reports were received – a 44% increase.

Despite a “significant” rise in reports for both crimes, only one in four domestic abuse cases are solved.

This figure falls to just one in ten for serious sexual assaults.

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Police chiefs have said a spike in reports for both categories reflects a greater confidence victims and their families have in coming forward.

However, Detective Chief Inspector Barry Byford said he is “disappointed” to see solved rates fall in this way.

“The significant rise in the reporting of domestic abuse and sex offences in the past year in Suffolk broadly echoes a national trend,” he said.

“We are also now scrutinising all reports from other agencies and ensuring all allegations are reported as crimes even where no criminal investigation is pursued.”

He continued: “We very much hope that the figures reflect greater confidence victims and their families have in coming forward and reporting to the police what has happened.”

Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner, said the data will be discussed at the public accountabilty and performance panel on Friday.

He said the spike is “very concerning” to him and he wants to hear what solutions chief constable Gareth Wilson will give at the meeting, being hosted at the Martlesham Police HQ at 9.30am.

DCI Byford said: “Solving crimes will always be a priority for the police and I am disappointed when the numbers we detect fall but there are often other positive outcomes for victims and for the public that don’t fall into the category of being solved.

“Reports of sexual offences or domestic abuse, of any nature, are taken extremely seriously.”

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