ANTI-SOCIAL behaviour incidents in Fife shot up by almost 6,000 in the space of nine months while there was a sickening increase in attacks on emergency workers.

From the early days of lockdown on April 1 to December 31, there were 24,508 complaints from fed-up members of the public to the police, up from 18,561 in the same period in 2019.

Common assaults on our frontline heroes spiralled from 279 to 324 but there were huge drops in other crimes and offences, such as driving offences, housebreakings and shoplifting.

Chief superintendent Derek McEwan said: "It is too early to assess the full impact Covid-19 has had on recorded crime and we must not become complacent in our efforts to reduce crime within the Kingdom further."

He said lockdown frustrations and restrictions "significantly impacted" on the number of anti-social behaviour calls with more neighbour disputes, noise complaints, vandalism and alcohol-fuelled trouble.

There was a big rise in cases of fraud, from 515 to 788, while domestic abuse incidents that resulted in a crime report soared by 311 to 3,789.

However the stay at home message had a positive impact in other areas with driving offences in reverse, from 5,768 to 4,261, as far fewer people were on our roads. Fatalities and serious injuries from road crashes also fell, from 12 to nine and 97 to 77 respectively.

Housebreakings, including attempts, dropped from 570 to 399, the closure of many shops led to shoplifting plummeting by over 500 cases to 1,168, while missing person enquiries almost halved, going from 3,096 to 1,887.

While Mr McEwan, the divisional commander for Fife, was "encouraged" by the reduction in various offences he added: “Where crimes have been reported though, in particular surrounding crimes of violence and domestic housebreaking, Fife Division are highly successful at apprehending those responsible."

The 'management information data' for the last nine months of 2020 show a total of 10,531 crimes reported to the Kingdom's police, a slight rise from the previous year, with 6,799 of them detected.

There were particularly impressive figures when it came to catching those responsible for rape and serious assault, with detection rates jumping to 83.4 per cent and 94.8 per cent respectively.

There was one murder and two culpable homicides in Fife between April and the end of December in 2020, down from four and eight, and 18 attempted murders, there were 21 in the same period in 2019.

A crackdown on knife crime saw 382 people caught with an offensive or bladed weapon, up from 331, while drugs offences rose from 985 to 1,053.

Fire-raising and vandalism / malicious mischief increased to 123 and 1,986 cases respectively, serious assaults dropped to 172 while robbery and assault with intent to rob offences climbed to 59.

Common assaults went up to 2,840, there were more breach of the peace and drunk and disorderly offences, while incidents of threatening and abusive behaviour climbed to 2,471.

Stalking and racially aggravated harassment and conduct offences fell.

There were 38 offences involving cruel and unnatural treatment of children, three fewer than before, while crimes involving threats and extortion rocketed from 16 to 63.

The number of rapes dropped by two to 145 while indecent / sexual assaults fell from 329 to 276.

Crimes involving the taking, distribution and possession of indecent photos of children went up to 38, public indecency dropped to five offences while sexual exposure increased to 33.

Threatening or disclosure of an intimate image went up to 46 offences.

Mr McEwan said: "Fife’s Public Protection Unit continues to target perpetrators of sexual crime and this has proven extremely successful in enhancing our detection rate and reducing various offences.

"I recognise that some forms of sexual crime remain under-reported and would urge victims to come forward so we can investigate and bring those responsible to justice.

“Despite our reductions in certain online sexual crimes, I want to make it clear that we are committed to doing more."