NEW statistics show crime is going down in parts of the region, but recent local and national police investigations have sparked a sudden rise in historic sexual offences being recorded.

According to data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Cleveland Police recorded a one to two per cent drop in crime between the year ending December 2012 and the following year, with 39,199 crimes recorded.

North Yorkshire had a two to four per cent drop with 34,615 recorded crimes including fraud and 34,472 excluding fraud.

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In the Durham area the force recorded 31,664 crimes, including fraud, marginally up from the total amount of recorded crime the previous year, of 31,523.

But all police forces in the region reported a large increase in the number of sexual offences, which has been attributed to a rise in the number of people coming forward to report offences going back many years.

The increase has been attributed to the “Yewtree effect”, as the Operation Yewtree inquiry in October 2012 encouraged victims of Jimmy Savile and others to come forward and report sexual offences.

The trend was most pronounced in Durham, where the force has been investigating allegations of abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre. The force recorded a 74 per cent increase in sexual offences between the year ending December 2012 and the year ending December 2013 - from 377 to 657 in the space of a year.

Durham Constabulary launched Operation Seabrook last August to investigate allegations of serious abuse against young inmates at Medomsley Detention Centre near Consett from the late 1960s to the 1980s.

Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg said: “Durham Constabulary’s investigation of the Medomsley Detention Centre illustrates that victims are now confident to come forward.

“We will continue to deal with such crimes effectively and sensitively, ensuring that the victim remains at the heart of everything we do.”

In North Yorkshire, the number of sexual offences reported increased 13 per cent and in Cleveland, police recorded 549 such crimes in 2012 and 607 in 2013.

The latest crime figures show North Yorkshire has the lowest crime rate in England.

Chief Constable Dave Jones said the overall reduction in crime in North Yorkshire reflected the “hard work, dedication and commitment” of officers, staff and community partners.

He added: “I would like to reassure residents across North Yorkshire and the City of York that we are not complacent. North Yorkshire Police will continue to make sure that our communities remain the safest places to live and work in the country.

“As we have already achieved a significant reduction in crime in recent years, reducing it further poses a constant challenge. However, this is something which we have prepared for and have put plans in place to continue to suppress the impact of and maintain the fight against crime.”