SEX crimes in Wigan have hit a four-year high, shock new figures reveal.
The total of sexual offences has risen by 40 per cent, from 123 in 2012 to 189 last year.
That includes police investigating 73 rapes last year – 10 more than in 2012, showing a 16 per cent increase.
Sex assaults and indecent exposures are also shown to be on the rise.
Meanwhile the number of arrests for rapes rose from 50 to 67 between 2012 and 2013. Of those arrested last year, 11 were charged, 43 were released with no further action, 11 were bailed and two were processed for a summons.
There were 112 sexual assaults reported in Wigan in 2013, and 75 arrests were made: a big hike from the previous year when there were 78 offences and 64 arrests.
Of those interviewed by the police last year, only 21 were charged and 44 were discharged with no further reprisals. Eight were bailed and two were cautioned.
The biggest spike was in 2009, with 131 calls and 72 arrests.
Similarly, 26 people were caught indecently exposing themselves in 2013, leading to 18 arrests, compared with 19 reports in 2012 and 2011 and with four and six arrests respectively. But this is still lower than in 2009 when 36 allegations were made, yet only 11 people were arrested.
The frequence of outraging public decency, which includes exposure, urinating in public and performing lewd acts remains very low.
Det Supt Jon Chadwick of the police’s Public Protection Division, said: “Since 2012, GMP has seen a rise in reports of rape and sexual assault across the county as have most areas of the UK.
“In June 2012 the Serious Sexual Offences Units (SSOU) were introduced across Greater Manchester which are dedicated to the investigation of rape and working with our partners provides victims with specialist support and service through the investigation and beyond.
“We believe that this has resulted in victims of rape having more confidence in reporting their case to us.
“The Jimmy Savile case which first came to light in November 2012, along with a number of other high profile prosecutions, has also led to increased confidence in reporting sexual offences to the police.
“The increase in reporting is mainly made up of historical offences ie those committed a year or more before being reported. We can reassure our communities that there is not a significant increase in the number of people being raped or sexually assaulted.
“As a force we continue to improve our service to victims by working with partners. It is encouraging to see that victims now have more confidence to report rape and sexual offences to us. They know that we take all reports seriously and will support them throughout the process to make sure offenders are brought to justice.
“Using different figures, between March 31 2013 and April 1 2014, police in Wigan received 40 reports of indecent exposure compared to 20 the previous financial year and while I recognise that this appears to be a high figure in the same period our officers made 18 arrests compared to nine the previous year.
“Across the borough there is no one hotspot area but we recognise that any increase is not good enough.
“We take all reports of this matter very seriously and we are working to identify any similarities or similar offender profiles.”
Anyone who has been a victim of rape or sexual assault can contact GMP on 101 or 999 in an emergency.
St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Manchester, can be contacted on 0161 276 6515.