Serious assault rates have rocketed in East Renfrewshire over the last year despite overall violent crime falling, recent figures have shown.

And the number of reports relating to the possession, supply and cultivation of drugs is up by almost half.

It comes as sexual offences in the local authority area almost doubled over the same period amid increased reporting of historical crimes.

The statistics comparing July to September of this year to last year were revealed at a meeting of the council’s police and fire cabinet. 

The area’s top cop, Chief Superintendent Brian McInulty, has revealed detection rates for sex crimes have fallen because officers are having to wade through piles of complex investigation work. 

Police Scotland confirmed crime rates across the local authority area had fallen overall and highlighted work to combat anti-social behaviour and housebreakings.

In a report, Ch Supt McInulty said: “I remain totally focused on doing everything possible to drive down crime and maintain record high levels of detections. 

“There has been a 19 per cent reduction in the total number of crimes of violence, however, analysis highlights that, despite serious assaults increasing, common assaults have decreased and there has been a significant reduction in robberies against last year’s figures. 

“There does not appear to be any pattern or any indication as to why there has been an increase in serious assaults, but further detections are likely through the investigations carried out by attending officers, evidence obtained from witnesses, and the CID.”

The number of domestic abuse crimes fell 12 per cent from 142 to 124 between the two periods, while detection rates remained at 66 per cent.

And sexual crimes rose from 41 to 77 but detection rates fell from 53 per cent to 44 per cent. Ch Supt McInulty added: “There has been an increase in the reporting of sexual crimes which is partly due to the continued trend of victims having the confidence to come forward and report ongoing and historical incidents. 

“We have a dedicated team of officers within the division who investigate these incidents, which are invariably complex and often protracted in nature.”