Rise in serious sex attack figures
The number of serious sex attacks and burglaries rose last year despite a fall in overall crime levels, new figures show.
There were more than 2,000 more serious sex offences than the previous year and more than 90,000 more burglaries, according to the statistics.
But both the British Crime Survey (BCS), which is based on interviews with 10s of thousands of people, and the number of incidents recorded by police showed crime was continuing to fall overall, down 3% and 6% respectively between 2009 and 2010.
The number of crimes fell from 9.8 million to 9.5 million last year compared with 2009 and the risk of being a victim remained about the same at 21.4%, the BCS showed.
Falls in most types of crime, apart from sex offences, saw the number of incidents recorded by police drop from 4.4 million to 4.2 million.
The continued fall in crime comes ahead of next month's local elections and seemed to allay police chiefs' fears that crime may have risen during the recession.
The largest drops recorded were for criminal damage and offences against vehicles, down 17% and 12% respectively.
But the number of sex offences recorded rose from 53,091 in 2009 to 54,602 last year, up 3%, with a 6% increase in the number of most serious cases - up to 44,693 last year, compared with 42,187 in 2009.
It was the sixth consecutive quarter in which sex offences have increased and follows a 7% rise in the year to September 2010, compared with the previous 12 months, the period covered by the last set of statistics.
Despite 7% falls in the number of domestic burglaries and other burglaries recorded by police, the BCS figures showed a 14% increase, with 734,000 burglaries last year compared with 644,000 in 2009.