Figures from Police Scotland's quarterly review show that serious assault and willful fire-raising incidents have come down in the last year, but Ayrshire's top cop says virtual crimes, such as fraud and online child sexual abuse have gone up.

Ayrshire has recorded almost 50 fewer crimes of fire-raising and more than 60 fewer crimes of serious assault against the same reporting period last year.

The figures also show that there were 161 more drink, drug driving offences and an increase in incidents involving weapons carrying – up from 103 to 129.

Fraud cases are up from 547 to 809 against the same period while there were 22 fewer crimes of common assaults on emergency workers.

Chief Superintendent Faroque Hussain, Divisional Commander for Ayrshire said: “It will be some time before we can truly understand the impact the pandemic has had on crime levels and this reporting period is unique in that regard.

“Virtual crimes like fraud and online child sexual abuse have increased during this period and our latest Performance Report draws attention to vital work to safeguard hundreds of children through the enforcement of National Online Child Abuse Prevention packages.

“Online child sexual abuse is a national threat and tackling it is a priority for Police Scotland. The implementation of our Cyber Strategy will ensure we continue to build capacity and capability to keep people safe in the virtual space.”

"We have recorded higher detection rates across a range of crime categories and we anticipate these will be challenging to maintain when reported crime returns to pre-pandemic levels.

“Making Ayrshire's roads safe for everyone is a local priority for us and we have the specialist support from our roads policing colleagues. We will continue to target individuals who are drink or drug driving to reduce the danger on our roads from drivers putting lives at risk. 

“Local officers will also remain in our communities, being visible and accessible and keeping people safe.”

Police Scotland’s 2021-22 Quarter 4 Performance Report and Management Information showed there were a total of 1,966 child sexual abuse crimes recorded during the year, an increase of 5.9 per cent compared to last year (1,857) and 24.9 per cent greater than the five year average of 1,574.

The report will be presented to the Scottish Police Authority’s Policing Performance Committee on Tuesday, June 8.