The number of child rapes in West Yorkshire soared in the year to last March, it has been revealed.

A total of 340 such offences were reported to police – above the national average and compared to 222 in 2012. The number of child rapes solved was below the national figure.

Adult rapes also increased, with 467 crimes reported. Again, this is above the national average and compares to 327 in 2012. The figures are in new police data for the 43 forces in England and Wales which show around 6,000 recorded rapes of children – those under 16 – and some 10,000 adult rapes. These crimes have steadily increased since 2008.

And the figures may not tell the whole story. Today’s report says: “Rape is under-reported by up to 85 per cent, with many more such crimes committed than recorded by police.”

In West Yorkshire, recorded child rape rates were 76.2 per 100,000 of population. The average for England and Wales was 59.5 per 100,000 of population. The number of such crimes solved was 22 per cent, against a 31 per cent average. This compares to 27 per cent in West Yorkshire in 2009. The figure for ‘no crime rates’ was five per cent in both cases. This is where a crime is initially reported as a rape but then de-classified.

In 2009, there were 267 child rapes; 279 in 2010; 288 in 2011 and 222 in 2012.

The number of adult rapes solved in West Yorkshire has also fallen – to 15 per cent from 17 per cent in 2009.

The recorded rate of offences was 26.2 per cent, compared to an England and Wales average of 22 per cent. Detection rates were 15 per cent compared to 18 per cent. In 2009, 397 adult rapes were recorded; 386 in 2010; 310 in 2011 and 327 in 2012.

Detective Chief Superintendent Dave Knopwood of West Yorkshire Police, said: “We have listened to recommendations from the HMIC report in 2012 and have taken steps to implement any learning points. “The recorded crime rate for rape involving both adults and children in West Yorkshire is above the national average, however; there are significant contributory factors.

“For instance, high profile cases seen in the media have increased reporting of this serious offence. The Force’s ‘Know the Signs’ campaign surrounding Child Sexual Exploitation has also played a key role.”