The highest number of sexual offence crimes have been recorded in Bury since records began, figures have revealed.

Tens of thousands of crimes have been recorded across Bury in the past year as the 28.6 crime rate per 1,000 people now stands higher than the national rate of 25.1.

Greater Manchester Police recorded 20,951 offences in Bury in the 12 months to March, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The increase has been particularly notable in violent crime, theft and sexual offences.

The number of recorded sexual offences has also risen 37 per cent from 523 last year, to 718 this year, the highest number since records began in 2003.

Stalking and harassment cases in Bury have seen a 49 per cent increase, going from 2,172 in 2020/21 up to 3,223.

As well as sexual offences, violent crime has soared in the area, from 5,821 to 8,009 and theft offences have risen by 27 per cent.

Crimes recorded in Bury included during 2021/22:

  • 718 sexual offences
  • 8,009 violent offences
  • 1,980 incidents of criminal damage and arson
  • 483 drug offences
  • 238 possession of weapons such as firearms or knives
  • 3,223 public order offences
  • 5,445 theft offences
  • 3,228 stalking and harassment offences

The total number of reported sex offences this year peaked nationally across England and Wales, as well as Bury.

Compared to 2020/21, this year 2021/22 has seen a 15 per cent in stalking and harassment and a 26 per cent increase in recorded rape, topping 70,000 cases for the first time.

The Office for National Statistics has said the increase is thought to be due to the impact of high-profile cases and campaigns on victims’ willingness to report incidents.

Ruth Davison, CEO of domestic abuse charity Refuge, said: "We need system-wide reform to ensure that survivors are supported and believed when they make the brave choice to report the abuse they’ve experienced, and the crimes committed against them.

"Without it, women will continue to lack confidence in the system and be less inclined from seeking the justice they deserve."

The Home Office said more victims coming forward is "encouraging", but admitted more must be done.

Greater Manchester Police has been approached for a comment about the figures.