PERSISTENT trouble in Dunfermline town centre saw it labelled the “worst area in Scotland” in a police report.

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said the force had acted and extra money had been found to confront the problems around the bus station area.

In a report to Fife Licensing Board, he wrote: “Prior to the implementation of such measures, Dunfermline town centre regularly featured on Ward Tracker as being the worst area in Scotland in relation to minor violent crime and anti-social behaviour and on occasions was listed as first in both categories.”

Ward Tracker is a system which collates information about crimes and offences from across the country to decide which areas would benefit from extra police resources, with Dunfermline becoming a particular hotspot last year.

Mr Livingstone said partnership work had helped and explained: “Taxi marshals have been deployed in Dunfermline over a number of years and assist with the safe dispersal of patrons from late-opening premises.

“In 2017, additional funding was secured and the area where taxi marshals operate was extended to include the previously problematic bus terminus in the town. This led to an increase in public confidence and a reduction in calls to the police.”

As a result, at the time of compiling the report, Dunfermline town centre was ranked 104th nationally for minor violent crime and 320th in relation to anti-social behaviour. Police Scotland have also stepped up the number of officers in the town centre over the weekends with extra staff brought in.

The report said: “This results in a sergeant and six constables being dedicated to patrolling the town centre. Officers are tasked with visiting all licensed premises to provide a reassuring presence for patrons and premises staff and visible deterrent to potential troublemakers.”

Police have sent letters to the parents and guardians of children found to be under the influence of alcohol, while all off-sales premises have been written to with a reminder to staff to verify ages of customers buying booze and to watch out for adults buying drink for kids.

Fife police are hoping to reintroduce test purchasing this year – to ensure shop staff adhere to the law and don’t sell alcohol to anyone underage – but admitted they were worried about the increase in booze being bought over the internet and delivered to addresses.

The chief constable’s report said: “The current licensing legislation provides control measures over the sale and supply within premises, and allows for fairly stringent checks to ensure compliance, but singularly fails to deal with the issue of compliance with the licensing objectives regarding the delivery of alcohol.”