Spike in reported rapes in Havering bucks three-year decline

Police siren.

The number of rape offences recorded annually in Havering had declined for three successive years prior to 2021. - Credit: Met Police

Last year saw the highest number of rape offences in Havering on record, bucking a three-year decline. 

According to data from the Met Police’s crime data dashboard, 173 rape offences were recorded in the borough in 2021. 

That is the highest annual figure for Havering included in the database, which recorded its first full year of data in 2013. 

While the figure has more than doubled over that period, the rate declined in the three successive years prior to 2021, from 171 in 2017 to 122 in 2020. 

The total number of sexual offences recorded last year was also the highest on record at 595; more than double the 203 recorded in the first full year of recording and a large increase on the 436 recorded in 2020. 

It was also nearly 100 more than the previous high of 497 in 2014. 

In that year, senior officers in Havering attributed the spike in reporting to the so-called "Savile effect"; the increase in confidence in reporting brought about as a result of the arrests of high-profile sex attackers. 

Cmdr Melanie Dales, the Met’s lead officer for public protection, emphasised the force's commitment to supporting victims of rape and sexual assault and recognised that more could be done to improve judicial outcomes for victims. 

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She said: “The Met is committed to providing the best possible service to victims of rape and sexual offences. 

"Reports of rape and sexual offences have steadily increased in recent years and we’ve worked hard to meet this demand whilst providing support to victims who bravely come forward and report to us. 

"Sexual offence investigations are some of the most complex police deal with and we continue to work hard with our partners and the Crown Prosecution Service [CPS] to expedite the digital forensic and judicial process to support victims who have shown great bravery in reporting to police. 

"We understand that rape and serious sexual assault are incredibly distressing and impact victims deeply and we also fully recognise that there is much more we must do to drive the improvements to the criminal justice outcomes they deserve to see.”