North Wales: Latest figures show record number of blackmail reports!

This is insane, who would think that Blackmail exists in this day and age? I would love to know what the reasons people were Blackmailed were!

A RECORD number of blackmail offenses were reported to police in North Wales last year, figures show.

Home Office figures show North Wales Police recorded 223 blackmail offenses in the year to March – up from 159 in 2020-21, and the most since comparable records began in 2012-13.

Across England and Wales, 22,000 such offenses were recorded in 2021-22 – more than double the number before the coronavirus pandemic in 2019-20, and also a record.

The crime – which is punishable by up to 14 years in jail – is one of the fastest-growing over the last decade.

Victim Support said the rise could reflect more crimes or victims feeling more empowered to come forward, but warned many still choose not to as they feel embarrassed.

Diana Fawcett, chief executive of the charity, said: “This steep rise in reports of blackmail is seriously concerning – with only 1 percent of cases resulting in a charge, we risk victims losing trust in the criminal justice system.

“It is essential victims of blackmail are given practical and emotional support to help them recover and seek justice.

"Police forces and the Government must take this crime seriously and get to the bottom of why we’re seeing this increase.”

Although the figures do not break down the type of blackmail carried out, the National Crime Agency views "sextortion", or webcam blackmail – where victims are tricked into performing sexual acts on video – as a growing threat.

And the Revenge Porn Helpline, which supports those who have suffered intimate image abuse, said it was their most reported issue in 2021.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council said a rise in blackmail crimes is largely down to improvements in the recording.

Separate figures show that of the 20,360 blackmail investigations closed nationwide in 2021-22, just 1 percent resulted in a charge or summons, and 59 percent with no suspect identified.

Of these, 191 were concluded in North Wales, with 55 percent resulting in no suspect being identified, 40 percent abandoned due to evidential difficulties and none with a charge or summons.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are supporting police by funding crime prevention measures, including equipping police with better technology to help catch more criminals.

"We are working with partners across the criminal justice system to increase the number of cases being charged and prosecuted.”