ROBBERY, common assault and domestic abuse are on the rise in South Ayrshire, according to new figures - but overall crime in the area is falling.

Police Scotland has released its latest statisticss on crimes and offences across the country for the year to the end of December.

The Recorded Crime in Scotland figures reveal that in South Ayrshire, instances of common assault recorded by the police increased from 950 in 2021 to 1,105 in 2022.

Instances of robbery also saw an increase, from 30 in 2021 to 34 in 2022.

Instances of domestic abuse recorded under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 saw an 80 per cent rise from the previous year, with 36 events recorded in 2022 compared to 20 in 2021.

Reports of sexual assault, rape and attempted rape and other sexual crimes were down year-on-year, while for the second year in a row there were no instances of murder or culpable homicide.

Instances of fire-raising saw one of the biggest drops, with 13 reports of the crime compared to 34 in 2021 - a drop of 62 per cent.

Drug supply crimes in the area fell by 30 per cent.

Crimes of dishonesty rose slightly from 1,932 to 1,963.

Within the latter figures, housebreakings and shopliftings increased, but thefts of and from motor vehicles and from 'lockfast places' all fell - while fraud crimes were down by 13 per cent.

Overall, recorded crime in South Ayrshire is down by 4 per cent year-on-year - while over the five-year period from the beginning of 2018 to the end of 2022, crime in the area has fallen by 14 per cent.

Conservative MSP Sharon Dowey, who represents the area as part of her South Scotland regional remit, said: “Considering that common assault includes offences like attempted murder and serious assault, it’s really worrying to see that this offence is on the rise in South Ayrshire.

“Police Scotland do a fantastic job at preventing, investigating, and deterring criminals, but there’s only so much they can do when the SNP Government continue to cut their budgets.

“With Police Scotland facing significant pressures, we need to see the SNP Government offer support to the service, or risk jeopardising public safety.

“We all want to see more bobbies on the beat and a service that can deter criminals up and down South Ayrshire.

"However, without additional support, I’m worried that deterring offenders will be made all the more difficult, pushing crime rates up even further.

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“Now, I’m going to take this forward with the Justice Secretary to find out what the Scottish Government will do to support Police Scotland reduce offending in South Ayrshire.”

Justice Secretary Keith Brown said: “These figures show Scotland continues to be a safe place to live with recorded crime at one of the lowest levels seen since 1974.

“Most people do not experience crime and these latest figures show reductions in incidents such as housebreaking and vandalism compared to pre-pandemic levels.

"This welcome trend reflects separate research showing people in Scotland are significantly less likely to be a victim of crime than those living in England and Wales.

"People here also feel safe walking in their communities during the evening.

“We recognise that there is still work to be done, which is why we have taken robust action to tackle sexual offending and have invested £93 million over the past five years to ensure that victims' rights and needs are at the centre of Scotland’s criminal justice system.

"We also know the harm cyber-crime and fraud can inflict on communities and support the efforts of Police Scotland and partners in tackling these kinds of crime. 

“Nonetheless, these historically low levels of crime are testimony to the continued efforts across policing, justice and community safety partners to deliver a safer Scotland for everyone.”