Cheshire's police commissioner was criticised when he blamed a lower clear-up rate for some crimes on the fact that far more offences were being reported.
Evan Morris, a member of the Cheshire Police and Crime Panel, questioned why there had been a rise over the past year in the number of unsolved sexual and violent offences across the county.
Speaking at Wednesday’s meeting at Winsford, Mr Morris said: “Child sexual abuse solved, down 9.7%; domestic violence with injury solved down 13.4%; rape offences solved down 15.2%; rape offences, suspect identified, down 77.3%... I think it justifies some explanation.”
Police and crime commissioner David Keane said: “I think the crime data recorded shows that we have had a huge increase of reported offences coming in.”
He said the way in which offences were recorded had also changed.
“I’m very aware that in those areas you’ve raised, the briefing I’ve received from the constabulary, is [there’s been] a vast amount of increased reports of the kind of crimes you’ve mentioned,” said Mr Keane.
He said in the cases of child sexual abuse or exploitation ‘it does take a great deal of police investigative time’.
“A vast increase in reporting is going to have an effect on the outcomes if you’ve only got the same resource.
“If you’ve got limited resources and you’re trying to push it into those areas, which you might argue it’s right we should, you’ve got to then decide which areas you don’t prioritise,” said the police commissioner.
Mr Morris replied: “You can’t use that as an excuse for that very, very significant shift in unsolved crime.”
But he praised the commissioner and the constabulary for the work done on road safety programmes, which had resulted in a 18.7% reduction in the number of people killed and seriously injured on Cheshire roads.
Latest Cheshire Constabulary figures show the overall number of recorded child sexual abuse offences increased by 36.1% in the 12 month period up to October 2017, when compared to the previous 12 months.
The number of recorded rape offences increased by 34.7% in the same time period compared to the previous year.
The overall number of crimes in Cheshire was up by 18,277 - that’s a 31% increase, compared to the previous year.
The police say this largely attributable to changes made to improve recording standards.