ALMOST half of all sex crimes reported this year were historic claims on the back of what North Ayrshire’s top policeman is calling “the Hollywood effect”.

Between April and December this year 146 crimes of sexual assault were reported to police - 43 percent of which were “non-recent” claims.

North Ayrshire’s top cop Chief Inspector Brian Shaw says there is no doubt the current wave of sex crimes being made against famous people in Hollywood has encouraged more victims to come forward.

Chief Inspector Brian Shaw said: “There is definitely a new confidence within the public to come forward and report these kinds of crimes.

“From April to December this year we have seen 146 sex crimes reported in North Ayrshire and 43 percent of those are what I would call ‘non recent’. Some dating back 20 or 30 years which is quite incredible that people are still feeling able to come forward and report these crimes so long afterwards.

“I think it is definitely the effect of what we are seeing in Hollywood. It has definitely had an impact on how people feel about coming forward if they have been a victim. They are more confident about doing so now because they see that famous people are doing it.”

Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke in Hollywood back in September there have been hundreds more claims of sexual misconduct and assaults filed against various actors, directors, producers and television stars.

But Chief Inspector Shaw says the figures can’t be attributed to one person.

He said: “I don’t think you can tie it to one person individually, but certainly the wave of assault claims against actors, sports stars and the likes in recent years has meant people are seeing these celebrities coming forward with similar experiences and I think it most definitely encourages them to speak up too and that can only be a good thing.”

In the latest Police Performance Report sex crimes are up by 1.5 percent between April1 and November 5 this year, compared with the same period last year, however Chief Inspector Shaw says that rise actually only equates to two more crimes having been reported.

He said: “That 1.5 percent is two more crimes reported over a 35 week period which is very much in line with previous years. It is important to say that having more crimes reported is not a bad thing. As far as we are concerned that means more people feel confident enough to come forward.”