Chief Inspector Nicky Thompson, of Coleraine PSNI.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.
Chief Inspector Nicky Thompson, of Coleraine PSNI.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

A PSNI chief has encouraged victims of sexual crime to report offenders to police after figures showed that sexual offences had risen by a quarter over the past year.

Coleraine Area Commander, Nicky Thompson, described the crime statistics for 2012/2013 as a positive picture with Coleraine going against the Northern Ireland upward trend with a crime reduction of 5%.

But the statistics showed that sexual offences were up by 25.5% in that same period.

He said: “”This increase represents 14 more offences that last year.

“Police are encouraging victims of sexual offences to continue to make contact and we have the specialist officers and determination to bring offenders before the court.”

Drugs offences were also up by 15.7%.

Ch Inspector Thompson said: “Police have made more arrests for drugs offences this year than last and taken a large amount of drugs off our streets.

“This demonstrates our commitment to keeping people safe by tackling the illegal drugs trade. Operation Torus ran across Northern Ireland last winter and saw arrests and drug seizures made on the streets of Coleraine and out lying areas.

“Our work in tackling the drugs trade continues outside of specific operations and involves all of our officers. Arrests for lower lever drug offences are made frequently across Coleraine. We ask local people for their assistance in tackling drug dealing by contacting us with any information on drug dealers in your area.”

The figures showed that cases of violence with injury had fallen by 9.5%, while theft offences fell by 2.3%.

“Violence with injury can cover a wide range of crime types,” said Chief Inspector Thompson.

“It ranges from domestic abuse behind closed doors to more visible alcohol related street disorder. The positive is that this crime type is down, reflecting work done by police in partnership with statutory agencies such as the council, voluntary organisations such as Womans Aid and businesses associated with the night time economy.

“The reduction in this crime type may reflect some of the proactive police work done to combat street fights recently, specifically Operation Zinc. The message is that police are working hard to keep everyone in Coleraine safe.”

Referring to clearance rates, he added: “A crime is cleared when a suspect is arrested and charged. Crime outcomes may include charges, summons, cautions, discretionary disposals or penalty notices.

“Clearances are up across a range of crime types in Coleraine including possession of offensive weapons, drugs offences and sexual offences. This is a positive statistic which shows that police are investigating serious crime robustly and using common sense to dispose of more minor offences.”