CRIMES of violence nearly doubled in the last year in the Dunfermline area and the number of robberies also climbed.

However, on the plus side there was a dip in dishonesty and sex offences while the clear-up rate for serious assaults was impressive.

Members of Fife Council’s City of Dunfermline Area committee received the law and order update at their meeting on Tuesday.

The crime count was before lockdown and, between April 2019 and March 2020, the number of violent offences went up by 46 to 109.

There was one murder in that time period, which was one more than the previous year, and three attempted murders compared to one in 2018-19. Also rising however, was the serious assault detection rate which was up from 92.1 per cent to 94.1 per cent.

Local area commander, Chief Inspector Paul Dick, told councillors: “It is fair to say we are fairly pleased with the performance.

There is always room for improvement and we will work with our partners to try and keep that going.”

The number of robberies doubled in the space of a year, from nine to 18, however theft by housebreaking went down from 108 to 73.

He acknowledged: “We have seen robberies double. The main issue is they appear to be of quite a low level and usually involve persons involved on the drugs scene; low level drug users who have property taken by other people in their social circle.

“That has increased however the detection rate remains high. There is still work to be done around that.

“There was a substantial reduction in petty (common) assaults from 814 to 604 which is very welcome and the detection rate is 79 per cent which has dipped by 0.3 per cent from the previous year.

“More pro active work is resulting in more people being detected for drug supply charges.”

Shoplifting offences also dropped from 419 to 385 and Chief Inspector Dick said this number was likely to decrease further because of Covid restrictions and many shops being shut during lockdown.

Motor vehicle crime was up from 75 to 109 offences while the number of crimes of indecency went down by 29 to 138.

There were half the number of rapes recorded – a total of 15 compared to 30 in 2018-19.

Chief Inspector Dick said work would continue in their fight against crime in the Dunfermline area.

He added: “Dunfermline had 107 fewer vandalism offences, however it still had 348 and the detection rate remains steady at 37 per cent. Historically vandalisms are quite difficult to detect.”