LEVELS of violence, sexual assault and anti-social behaviour dropped across Fife between April and June.

Police Scotland said initiatives to tackle serious crime were paying off, although they also reported a big increase in housebreaking and shoplifting offences.

The stats for the quarter showed that, compared to the same period in 2018, there were seven fewer victims of serious assaults while common assaults fell by 162 and the number of robberies was down by seven.

Sex crimes also reduced by seven incidents and the detection rate for rapes "increased significantly".

Chief Superintendent Derek McEwan, the divisional commander for Fife, said: "I believe the stats demonstrate some significant success in tackling the serious crimes which impact upon communities throughout Fife, while at the same time, highlighting areas where we must continue to focus our efforts.

"Operation Path, the ongoing campaign to tackle violence and bring offenders to justice, had made considerable strides in reducing violent crime and we will not become complacent with our efforts to reduce such offences further.

"I want to make it clear that violence of any form will not be tolerated and should you be found to be involved in any incidents where violence is a factor, you can expect a visit from us.

"It is also extremely heartening to see a reduction in sexual offences, which we know can have a significant long-term impact on victims.

"What I would like to stress, however, is that we know certain forms of sexual crime remain underreported and I would urge those who have been subject to any form of sexual abuse or sexual violence, to come forward so we can conduct a thorough and professional investigation."

Police said the figures for the quarter "highlight an increase in all forms of housebreaking across Fife" with 34 additional reports compared to the same period last year.

This included break-ins to homes, businesses and outbuildings while the number of shoplifting offences rose by 74.

Mr McEwan said: "I fully appreciate that the rise in acquisitive crime offences, including housebreaking and shoplifting, will be of concern to homeowners and businesses alike and I want to reassure all members of our communities that we are working tirelessly to address this rise."

On the roads, crashes led to three people losing their lives – there were two in the same period last year – while the number of serious and slight injuries also rose.

He said: "Casualty reduction on our roads is a Police Scotland priority and something we take extremely seriously here in Fife.

"While the rise in fatal, serious and slight injury collisions is, of course, something we need to look at, our road policing officers are monitoring all of the main arterial routes within the Kingdom on a daily basis to detect motoring offences and take the appropriate action, be it educational advice to motorists or enforcement action."