A regional MSP has said that more needs to be done to support police and tackle drug-related issues in the area.

South Scotland representative Sharon Dowey spoke out following recent events in Auchinleck, in which one police officer was taken to hospital after locals rebelled against alleged drug dealers in the village.

The weekend chaos has seen eight people - including a 13-year-old boy - arrested and charged in connection with the events.

READ MORE: Man in court as eighth arrest is made over weekend of disorder in Auchinleck

Ms Dowey says that more must be done to help police offers.

Cumnock Chronicle: MSP Sharon Dowey.MSP Sharon Dowey. (Image: Scottish Parliament)

The Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP said: “The recent scenes of violence against frontline officers in this area were appalling.

“SNP cuts have left our police unable to deal with incidents like this and also tackle the scourge of drugs in our communities.

“Drug deaths are Scotland’s shame on the SNP’s watch and too many lives continue to be lost as a result.

“Our police cannot continue to try and tackle this issue with one hand tied behind their back. The SNP Government must step up and ensure officers have sufficient resources, otherwise more lives will be at risk and more crimes will potentially be committed.”

In response, Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Home Affairs Angela Constance said that policing is a priority for the Scottish Government despite "challenging budget circumstances".

Cumnock Chronicle: Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Home Affairs Angela Constance.Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Home Affairs Angela Constance. (Image: Scottish Government)

Ms Constance said: “Policing is a priority for this government.

“Despite the most challenging budget circumstances since devolution, due to UK Government austerity and high inflation caused by their previous 2022 mini budget, the Scottish Government increased police funding by £80 million to £1.45 billion in 2023-24.

"There are more officers than in 2007 and Scotland continues to have more police officers per capita than England and Wales.

“No-one should be the victim of abuse or violence while at work, and assaults on police officers are completely unacceptable.

"The courts have extensive powers to deal robustly with assaults, including the Emergency Workers Act, which provide for penalties of up to 12 months imprisonment, a £10,000 fine, or both.”