Five young teenage boys charged with raping a child under 13-years-old
Police figures show rapes are at their highest ever level in England and WalesGetty

The number of rapes reported to and recorded by police in England and Wales has reached its highest level ever, according to police figures.

Police figures published by the Office for National Statistics revealed a 29% rise, as more than 22,000 rapes were recorded among around 68,000 sexual offences.

The number of rapes involving a knife or sharp implement soared by 48%, from 199 to 294, in the 12 months leading up to June 2014. The number of sexual assaults involving a blade also rose by 22%.

The figures show a surge in overall violent crime, recording 666,700 cases of "violence against the person" in England and Wales. An extra 69,000 were recorded compared with the previous year.

Hate Crime

Hate crime showed an increase of 5% to 44,480 incidents in the 12 months to June 2014, a rise from 42,236 the previous year.

Race hate crimes increased dramatically by 84% up to 37,484 incidents.

Religious hate crimes rose by 5% to 2,273 offences.

Statisticians said the increase was spurred by higher levels of hate crime in the wake of the murder of soldier Lee Rigby.

Crime Reporting

Experts have said the rise in crime numbers is partly down to victims' willingness to report rapes and other violent crimes to police.

According to the ONS, the rise in violence can likely be attributed to police forces complying more readily with rules on recording crime.

However, overall there was a total of 7.1 million incidents of crime against households and adults in England and Wales in the year up to June 2014, a 16% decrease from 8.4 million incidents in the previous year.