VIOLENT and sexual crimes recorded in East Renfrewshire are on the rise, with officers reporting victims are now more willing to come forward.

Figures contained in a Police Scotland report to East Renfrewshire Council show increases in the period from April to June when compared to the same time last year.

Crimes of violence rose by 32 per cent, with domestic abuse incidents increasing from 58 to 72, while 40 victims reported sexual crime, compared to 26 last year.

Inspector Bryan McGeogh said: “Reducing and preventing violent crime remains a key priority. Overall, there has been a reduction in serious violent crimes.

However, disappointingly, there has been a significant increase in common assaults.

“Because of the higher incidence of these crimes, this has resulted in an overall increase in crimes of violence in the first quarter of this year compared to last year’s figures.

“A number of assaults take place between partners or former partners and we remain focused on dealing quickly and effectively with incidents of domestic abuse.”

Insp McGeogh said the number of reported incidents of domestic abuse could be indicative of the increasing willingness of victims to come forward.

He also highlighted the “enhanced training” given to officers who handle reports of this nature.

Meanwhile, the first quarter of 2019 saw a “continued” increase in the reporting of sexual crimes.

Insp McGeogh said: “This reflects a national trend, which is partly due to victims having the confidence to come forward and report ongoing and historical incidents.

“Specialist officers continue to deal with these investigations, which are invariably lengthy and complex.”

Council leader Tony Buchanan said people should be careful when assessing percentage increases without the “context of the numbers involved.”

“We’re more than aware East Renfrewshire is a very safe place – the safest mainland authority,” he added.

Councillor Caroline Bamforth welcomed a crackdown on domestic abuse incidents.

“Increases aren’t always a negative thing,” she said.

The police force recorded 102 fewer calls relating to anti-social behaviour in the year-on-year figures.

However, Insp McGeogh said: “Anti-social behaviour remains a community priority and we continue to focus efforts on preventing disorder.”