THE number of crimes across the festive period in Ayr has fallen after police stepped up patrols on the streets.

Over the five weekends of Christmas and New Year partying there were no serious assaults reported in either Prestwick or Ayr, as punters enjoyed the merry atmosphere in both towns.

South Ayrshire police have hailed the success of their ‘Operation Inver’ – a local policing plan for the night-time economy areas, popular amongst party-goers.

The plan was part of the Safer South Ayrshire Joint Action Group, a partnership approach to keeping communities in South Ayrshire safe as part of the Community Safety Partnership.

Operation Inver saw officers work closely with the support provided by taxi marshals, street pastors and first aiders in Ayr.

Over the five weekends of the festive period in Ayr town centre there was: 11 per cent reduction in crime, 25 per cent decrease in violent crime and 42 per cent decrease in incidents reported.

In Prestwick there was a 50 per cent reduction in crime and no violent crimes reported.

It comes after residents raised concerns of the level of weekend crime in the town after a number of reported incidents, with some calling for more CCTV cameras in operation

Officers issued 11 fixed penalty tickets for anti-social behaviour across both towns such as causing a disturbance or urinating in public.

There were two common assaults in Ayr and one reported in Prestwick.

Local officers also carried out 110 visits to pubs and nightclubs as part of Operation Inver to ensure licensing standards were being maintained.

Local Area Commander for South Ayrshire, Chief Inspector Brian Anderson said: “We introduced Operation Inver to enhance the policing response to Ayr and Prestwick town centres in the evening at weekends. This has resulted in increased foot patrols so that we are able to respond early to issues and reassure the public.

“I am delighted that the hard work of officers has resulted in a drop in crime and incidents in both town centres and I thank the licensed trade for their support during a busy period.

“I think it’s important to identify that it is not about the statistics but that with every reduction in crime there is a reduction in victims of crime and that is where Operation Inver and our focus ultimately is – to Keep People Safe in South Ayrshire.”

“The response from our partners, officers and members of the public that I have spoken with has been overwhelmingly positive and I am delighted about this as well as the initial outcomes of the plan.

“Operation Inver was not solely for the festive period and it will continue to form our response to policing the evening economy from now on.”

“The public can expect to see increased numbers of officers on patrol every weekend but particularly during busy weekends such as the forthcoming Grand National event in Ayr.”