Page last updated at 14:55 GMT, Monday, 7 December 2009

'Honour' crime investigations rising, police say

Upset woman - posed by a model
Laws were strengthened by the government in 2007

Inquiries into incidents linked to so-called family or community honour are at their highest ever level in London, the Metropolitan Police has said.

The force recorded a 60% rise for the year to April 2009, to 256 incidents, of which 132 were alleged crimes.

The offences are motivated by a perceived desire to protect a family or community. Most victims are women.

The data comes after UK police forces were told to assume honour crimes have been committed in more circumstances.

The Association of Chief Police Officers' directive was aimed at helping forces identify potential victims and ensure all steps are taken to protect them.

Emerging patterns

Incidents not classed as crimes by police were often recorded where officers believe they could be part of a wider picture.

The latest data suggests the upward trend is continuing as in the six months to October, 211 incidents were recorded by the Met Police, 129 of them criminal offences.

The description of this type of crime is misplaced. There is no honour
Det Ch Insp Gerry Campbell

In the year to April 2008, the Met Police recorded 161 incidents, of which 93 were criminal offences.

Det Ch Insp Gerry Campbell said the latest figures could reveal the true extent of the problem.

He said the Met was also collecting information about people at risk and identifying emerging patterns.

But he added: "The description of this type of crime is misplaced. There is no honour in these crimes."

The law on forced marriage and other forms of honour-based crime was strengthened in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2007 by the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act.

A Home Office spokesman said: "Forced marriage and honour-based violence are appalling crimes and the government is working with partners across the voluntary sector to support victims."

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