30. Viscountess ASTOR
asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that sexual offences against children under 16 are increasing; that the five-year average for indecent assaults against them is the highest recorded for over 30 years; and what steps does he propose to take to check these offences?
§ Sir H. SAMUEL
The figures of offences of defiling girls under 13 show a decrease, but those respecting girls from 13 to 16 an increase. There is reason to believe that the statistics are affected by a greater readiness on the part of relatives and friends to report offences to the police instead of concealing them. I would add that the number of persons proceeded against also shows an appreciable increase. With regard to the second part of the question such statistics as are available for recent years will be given in answer to a subsequent question by the hon. Member for North Lambeth.
Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that it would he wise to increase the number of our women police, because many parents will report to women when they would not report to men, and is he aware that a committee set up to look into sexual offences recommended that we should have more women police?
§ Sir H. SAMUEL
It is possible, and indeed probable, that offences are more readily reported in some cases to women police, but a very large increase in the number of women police might not succeed in stopping the actual offences themselves.
Was not that the recommendation of the committee set up to look into this question, and have there not been other recommendations for an increase in the number of women police?