THE rising number of missing persons in Fife has led Police Scotland to appoint a dedicated officer to co-ordinate searches.

On average, during a nine-months period last year, 13 people were reported as missing in the Kingdom every single day with a couple of the cases being from the Cowdenbeath-Lochgelly area.

And the force's public protection role means their remit is getting ever wider, and demand for resources is increasing, with police submitting a staggering 13,246 entries onto the Vulnerable Persons Database between April and December 2017.

In that same time frame, 3,711 people were reported as missing – that's a rise of 449 from the same period the previous year.

A Police Scotland report for Fife Council's environment, protective services and community safety committee confirmed: "Fife Division dealt with 449 more missing person enquiries (up 13.8 per cent) and now have a missing person operational co-ordinator in post.

"A divisional improvement plan has also been created, aimed at developing preventative measures in relation to missing persons."

Councillors were told that the total number of crimes and offences actually fell during this period, down to 23,702, but police officers in Fife were even busier with the number of incidents up by 1,457 to 92,170.

The police report said: "Whilst recorded crime decreased within Fife over the period April to December 2017, it is important to recognise that demand on police resources continues to increase.

"Many of these additional incidents relate to mental health and vulnerabilities, placing significant demand upon resources."

Police officers are now dealing with incidents that, in the past, they weren't expected to deal with.

The report added: "During this reporting period Fife Division have submitted a total of 13,246 entries onto the Vulnerable Persons Database.

"These submissions are shared with partners to ensure a joined up approach to addressing welfare or vulnerability issues.

"Submissions relate to child concerns, adult concerns, domestic abuse and youth offending."