Lincolnshire Police are about to add a specialist team to their force to deal with sexual assault cases across the county.
According of figures by the British Crime Survey, in 2010 the number of sexual assaults had risen by 16%, or 58 more cases in Lincolnshire.
The new team will be called Emerald, and will begin its work by the end of May.
Despite these increase in sexual assaults, Lincolnshire has been found to still have one of the lowest crime rates and best-performing force in the country.
Deputy Chief Constable Neil Rhodes said that that more must be done to encourage sexual assault victims to report the offence.
He believes the establishment of a sexual assault referral centre and a support unit will help victims as well as Emerald.
Rhodes said: “The new team is being set up as part of the policing change programme.
“An increase in crime is never acceptable, but we have done all we can to encourage reporting of sexual offences and I would have been surprised if, after all our efforts, the number of people who felt they could report such offences had not increased.”
Head of Crime Support Det. Chief Supt. Heather Roach said: “Over the past few years the force and the authority have invested in measures to improve the way in which we treat victims of crime.
“A rise in the number of reported cases of sexual assault indicates a greater degree of confidence in the system.
“Where we have found room for improvement is in the way we prosecute the people responsible, that’s why Emerald Team was set up.
“We now have specially trained, skilled detectives to investigate these crimes. Some of the law and some of the procedures, especially when you get to court, are pretty complex.
“This new initiative bodes well for making sure that, when appropriate, people are taken to court.”
According to the British Crime Survey, Lincolnshire saw 2010:
- A 9% reduction in recorded crime in the county. National average: 6%
- Offences of criminal damage were down by 20%. National average: 17%
- 8% reported a high level of perceived anti-social behaviour. National average: 14%
- 16% thought people being rowdy or drunk in public places to be a fairly big or very big problem. National average: 24%.
- 14% of people see people using or dealing drugs to be a fairly big or very big problem in their area. National average: 26%.
Rhodes said: “These figures come at a time of tremendous change.
“I am certain [the force] can maintain levels of improvement and improve performance. In areas where we have done well, we will not rest on our laurels.”
Referring to violent crimes, he said: “We have redesigned this side of our operations with a view to producing better results. We have to have our officers understand that their job is to detect and arrest.”
“We are determined that there should be tenacious investigation, not ticking boxes.
“Some officers were in the position of having to spend inordinate amounts of time on computers. Not now.”