SEX crimes in Ayrshire this summer increased on the same period in 2020, according to new police figures.

There were 415 sexual crimes recorded in the area between April and September, compared to 370 in the same six month period last year – a rise of 12 per cent.

And incidents of rape or attempted rape were up from 48 between April and September of 2020 to 69 for the same spell this year – an increase of almost 44 per cent.

Indecent or sexual assaults increased by 12 per cent year on year, from 142 to 160.

Non-sexual violent crime – including murder, homicide and serious assault – fell by one from 252 to 251, while the number of housebreakings dropped by 90 and there were 28 fewer crimes involving offensive or bladed weapons.

However, common assaults – including attacks on emergency workers – rose by nearly 15 per cent, from 1,770 to 2,031.

Chief Superintendent Faroque Hussain, Police Scotland’s divisional commander, said: “The return of resources to the division from the Flexible Response Unit will allow us to better support local policing and address the changing needs of Ayrshire’s communities.

“These additional resources will give us even greater capacity to focus on the priorities that will make a difference to the wellbeing of those who reside, visit and work in the area.

“One of those priorities is common assaults which, across this latest reporting period, we recorded 261 more incidents. That figure includes 54 more assaults on emergency workers which is disappointing considering we and our emergency services’ partners put ourselves in harms’ way to keep people safe.

“While crimes containing an online element have increased across the country, we hope our cyber strategy will address the virtual threat posed to Ayrshire’s communities.”