The British Transport Police (BTP) has reported that the number of sexual offences on the UK’s rail network has increased by more than 20%, when compared with the previous year.

During the 12 months up to March, a total of 1,117 sexual offences were recorded, which is up from 925 in 2013.

The incidents of sexual crime against women or girls have increased from 485 to 624, while sexual crime against males has raised from 27 to 42.

BTP said: "Part of this increase can be attributed to the high-profile prosecutions of celebrities for historical offences, which have, undoubtedly, given victims more confidence to come forward."

The figures, which included the London Underground and Docklands Light Railway, reported a 3.7% increase in cases of violence against the person from 8,123 in 2012/2013 to 8,425 in 2013/2014.

Incidents on London Underground and the Docklands Light Railway recorded a 54.5% rise from 591 to 913.

"The UK’s railway has been transformed into Europe’s most improved and fastest growing network."

The number of theft and fraud offences has decreased by 17% and 50% respectively.

Rail Delivery Group director general Michael Roberts said: "The UK’s railway has been transformed into Europe’s most improved and fastest growing network.

"However, the rise in some crimes remains a concern, which is why the industry will continue to work closely with the police to prosecute offenders."

BTP chief constable Paul Crowther said that the force’s Project Guardian focuses on increasing awareness and confidence among the public to report unwanted sexual behaviour to the police or members of staff.

"We are particularly interested in those offences, which are often unreported, such as sexual assault, exposure, outraging public decency, lewd comments and harassment," Crowther said.

Millions of pounds have already been invested in improving CCTV at stations and hiring additional security to improve the safety and security of passengers and staff.