August 23 2014 Latest news:
Sam Gelder , Reporter
Friday, May 23, 2014
Celebrity sex cases are behind a more than 40 per cent rise in rape reports in Havering, according to one of the borough’s top police officers.
The number of rapes being investigated by local detectives rose from 54 in 2012 to 77 last year – a 43 per cent spike and almost double the Met-wide increase of 23pc.
But Det Ch Insp Phil Rickells, of Havering Police, put this down to more people reporting the crime, rather than an increasing problem, and highlighted Operation Yewtree, responsible for investigating high profile sex attackers Jimmy Savile and Max Clifford, as the catalyst.
“People now feel more confident in coming forward,” he said.
“You have only got to look in the national media at the moment, you can open any paper and it’s in there.”
Victims of rape and other sexual offences now receive more help than ever, said Mr Rickells.
“The Met had a target of improving rape convictions by five per cent this year and we have done 13.6 per cent,” he said. “The target was 668 and there were 759.
“We work with a lot of partners – agencies and charities – that provide support for people who are scarred for life.”
The Havering figures do not specify if the cases were new for the respective year or historical cases and do not reveal whether the victims knew their attackers.
Facilities such as The East London Rape Crisis Centre, which provides free confidential help for women and girls who have been raped or experienced sexual violence, have also received more funding.
Havering Council, as well as neighbouring boroughs, recently donated £20,000, and it was taken over by the Mayor’s Office for Police and Crime (Mopac) earlier this year.
In 2012/13, 95 women or girls were referred to the centre, with the number rising to 117 in 2013/14.