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Date Responded 03 August 2018

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

You asked:

1) The total number of rapes reported in Sunderland by year for 2017, 2007, 1997 and 1987? (However, if it is possible and if it was within the time constraints of the Act, would you be able to provide for the most recent recorded year and for each year going back as far as is recorded) Please ignore this last part if it will exceed the 18 hours and cost.

2) If the ethnicity or skin colour of the suspects is recorded I would like to have that as well for the same time period as question 1. 

In Response:

We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention. 

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Corporate Development Department of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held in part by Northumbria Police. 

I am able to disclose the located information to you as attached, with the caveats below noted . 

The earliest full year data we have available is 2006 so we have provided figures for every year from then until 07/07/2018.

The ethnicity is provided for  suspects, but excludes those that have been eliminated.

Data provided is for those that have been recorded in Sunderland Local Authority area .

Data is based on the date the crime was created -  however prior to April 2007, the date used was the date the crime was allocated to an officer. 

It is important to recognise that a ‘suspect’ is a very broad term that is not an accurate measure of the number of sexual offenders in the Force area. 

A ‘suspect’ could cover anyone arrested, named by a witness, identified from a description, or identified from similar offences so these figures will include people who were never charged or ruled out of the investigation completely. 

The increase in offences also requires additional context as there are not 200 per cent more people falling victims to sexual assaults than in 2009. 

For example, these figures include the increase we have seen in reporting of historical offences with some suspects charged with multiple crimes. 

This is as a result of increased confidence in the police that they will take offences of this nature seriously and put offenders before the courts. This is work we are extremely proud of. 

Finally, it is important to recognise the changes that have been made across the country in the way that crime has been recorded. This is the case for all crime types, not just sexual offences, and has resulted in sexual offences being recorded as crimes that may not have been in the past. 

If you decide to write an article / use the enclosed data we would expect that you to take into consideration the factors highlighted above so as not to mislead members of the public or official bodies or misrepresent the relevance of the whole or any part of this disclosed material. 

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