Every district in the county has recorded a record number of sexual offences except South Oxfordshire, which has seen a reduction.

Police logged a record high number of sexual offences in Oxford, Vale of White Horse, West Oxfordshire and Cherwell in the year to September, new figures show.

Charity Victim Support said the rise in sexual offences comes as victims' faith in the criminal justice system is failing and urged the police and Crown Prosecution Service to "do better and start delivering justice".

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Office for National Statistics figures show Thames Valley Police recorded 599 sexual offences in Oxford, 296 in Vale of White Horse, 300 in West Oxfordshire and 498 in Cherwell, in the year to September.

These figures are up from 572 in Oxford, 285 in Vale of White Horse, 195 in West Oxfordshire and 459 in Cherwell, during the previous 12 months.

All of these figures denote the highest number of recorded sexual offences since equivalent records began in the year to September 2007.

However, in South Oxfordshire police recorded 259 sexual offences in the year to September – down from 276 the year before.

It follows a trend across England and Wales, as police forces logged a record 199,021 sex crimes in the year to September, up 17 per cent on the 12 months before.

It was also up 22 per cent compared with the year ending March 2020, prior to the coronavirus pandemic – crime levels were greatly reduced during the lockdown periods.

Of these, 70,633 (35 per cent) were rapes – a 20 per cent increase from the 59,104 recorded in the 12 months to March 2020.

Diana Fawcett, chief executive of Victim Support, said: "This huge rise in recorded sexual offences comes as the percentage of cases seeing justice has plummeted to an abysmal new low.

"Charges for rape and sexual offences have been falling sharply for the past six years – the system is in crisis.

“We are on a path to destroying victims’ faith in the criminal justice system all together.

"Police and the CPS have a duty to survivors who have experienced life-changing trauma – they must do better and start delivering justice."

The ONS urged "caution" when interpreting the data on sexual offences, which could be affected by a “number of factors” including improvements in how police record crime as well as victims being more willing to come forward and report incidents in light of high-profile cases and campaigns.

Meghan Elkin, from the ONS, said police-recorded crime figures are a "better indicator of police activity", rather than a reliable insight into crime trends.


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1