CRIME in East Renfrewshire has soared by 21 per cent over the past year – the highest jump in Scotland.

Preliminary statistics released in a Police Scotland report show there were more than 400 more crimes in 2017/18 compared to the previous year.

Concerns have been raised about the under resourcing of officers, as this equates to one extra crime every day they need to deal with.

Despite an overall fall in violent crime, reporting of particular offences such as domestic abuse and sexual crimes has increased.

Local politicians have now expressed concern over the findings.

Barrhead councillor Angela Convery said: “I myself brought this up at the last full council meeting. It concerns me greatly the number of domestic abuse incidents recorded has risen.

“This report is worrying and is obviously something that we as a council need to work upon.”

Figures show that in 2017/18 there were 2,494 crimes recorded in East Renfrewshire, up from 2,064 in 2016/17.

Although this remains a low total for mainland Scotland, the rise over the past year is seven times the Scottish average.

Despite the increases, some members of East Renfrewshire’s Police and Fire Cabinet are encouraged by the higher level of reporting.

Vice chair Paul O’Kane said: “Any rise in crime is of concern to the community. [But] this is a management report and highlights lots of things which could impact results, such as changes in reporting. What we are seeing is a rise in crimes being reported, which means more people feel confident enough to report and are now seeing things being done in the area.

“Any increase in domestic abuse reporting is also a positive.”

Mr O’Kane added: “What I want to see now is the police, council and the community continuing to work together.”

The number of crimes recorded is also influenced by local initiatives.

A 23 per cent increase in drug crime may reflect officers’ efforts to tackle supply and possession.

However, there were also areas that showed an increase in particular types of crime, with vandalism in the area up by around a fifth, and theft, housebreaking and car crime also on the up.

The report also shows incidents involving bladed and offensive weapons have more than double in the past year, up from 35 to 85. This is, in part, down to changes in how these are dealt with by police.

MP Paul Masterton said: “We have seen a dramatic rise in reports of bladed weapons in East Renfrewshire, while drug crime is also sky rocketing.

“Police in East Renfrewshire are under-resourced, preventing them from getting on with what they do best – protecting the general public.”