FIFE'S top cop said a 116 per cent rise in reported rapes in the Kingdom in the last decade could be viewed as a "positive".

Chief Superintendent Derek McEwan said the figures, which have more than doubled from 99 in 2007-08 to 214 in 2017-18, were down to the public's growing confidence in the police to investigate sex offences and support the victim.

In a report, he said: "The significant rise in rapes and attempted rapes reported between 2007-08 and 2017-18 can be attributed to the change in proactive processes and the restructure and establishment of dedicated investigative departments, at the inception of Police Scotland.

"As such, this increase in reporting should be regarded as a positive reflection of how sexual crime is investigated within Fife, and how closely the police now work with partners to support victims of such offending."

Mr McEwan was asked to compile a report for the environment, protective services and community safety committee after concerns were raised by a councillor about a rise in rape and violent crime in Fife over the last 10 years.

Of the 99 reports of rape and attempted rape in 2007-08, 45 were historic or 'non-recent' – more than a year old – with 54 having occurred that year.

Out of the 214 incidents in 2017-18, 130 were non-recent and 84 had occurred that year.

Mr McEwan said most reports were historic, which showed the public's increased confidence in coming forward to report offences, and helped to explain why "there hasn't been a significant rise in rape offences occurring within Fife, year on year, since 2007".

He added: "What this report hopes to highlight is that Police Scotland are committed to tackling serious violence and rape, dedicate significant resource to this and engage fully with partners.

"Unfortunately, these types of offences continue to be reported; however, Fife Division of Police Scotland is better prepared than policing has ever been within the Kingdom, to provide a robust professional investigation, support victims and ultimately bring those responsible for such despicable acts to justice."

On violent crime, Mr McEwan told councillors there were 5,430 crimes of violence in 2007-08, and this had dropped to 4,620 in the Kingdom in 2017-18.

The number of murders, attempted murders and serious assaults were also down.

Committee convener Councillor Ross Vettraino said: "The Chief Superintendent's report demonstrated there's actually been a reduction in violence in Fife and Scotland.

"I think in homicide alone, the figures have almost halved. A downward trend in violent crime is something which everybody can be pleased about."