Northamptonshire has the highest recorded proportion of rapes in the country, according to a report by the police watchdog.
Police data on the number of rapes recorded by 43 police forces, and the outcomes, have been published together for the first time by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).
In the 12 months up to the end of March 2013 there were 193 recorded adult rape offences in Northamptonshire - this equates to 34.8 crimes per 100,000 population aged 16 or above - the highest rate in the country and well above the England and Wales average of 22 crimes.
The number of recorded rapes has increased every year since 2009 when the figure was 123 - this mirrors the national picture.
The HMIC data also shows that Northamptonshire Police had one of the lowest sanction detection rates in the country - the number of rapes that were solved by the police where a formal criminal justice sanction was applied to the offender.
Just 12 per cent of adult rapes resulted in a sanctioned detection, with just six forces with a lower success rate.
The data also reveals there were 78 child rape offences recorded in the year up to the end of March 2013.
A spokesman for the HMIC said: “The numbers, of course, can never tell the full story. Increases in the numbers of rapes being recorded may mean that victims feel more confident in reporting what happened to them; or decreases may mean that victims are losing confidence in the authorities to treat them sensitively.”
Det Supt Ivan Balhatchet, head of crime investigation at Northamptonshire Police, said: “Research tells us that rape is an often unreported crime and that as few as five per cent of incidents are reported to the police.
“We work hard to encourage victims to come forward and the fact that we’ve seen an increase in the number of recorded rape offences can be seen as increased confidence in the way we investigate serious sexual offences.
“In the last 24 months we have heavily invested in partnership work with outside agencies which offer reporting routes for victims who may not initially have had the confidence to report offences of rape.
“Our message to victims is that we will thoroughly investigate all incidents of rape and sexual assault reported to us.
“Northamptonshire Police is always seeking to give victims of serious sexual assault the confidence to report incidents and improve the service it provides them.
“We work closely with a number of organisations that can provide advice and support, whether or not the victim decides to report an offence.”