VIOLENT crime is on the rise in North Ayrshire, new police statistics have community representatives in Largs call for more 'bobbies on the beat' to reassure the public.

A report to a key North Ayrshire Council committee reveals that violent crime in the area has increased by 13.7 per cent on the five-year average.

Police Scotland, who provided the report and the data on which it's based, say the rise is mainly due to an increase in minor assaults on both emergency workers and members of the public.

The same report says that serious assaults are down on both the five-year average and on the figures for last year.

The latest statistics cover the nine-month period from April 1 to December 31, 2023.

According to the report, there were 11 serious assaults across North Ayrshire during the reporting period, all of which were detected.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "All significant crimes of violence are subject to close scrutiny and managed by the criminal investigation department supported by our policing teams where all are reviewed daily.

"Officers continue to engage with licensed premises and during the reporting period there have been 353 inspections compared to only 29 incidents.

"Visits to licensed premises was a focus over the festive period to ensure safe enjoyment of North Ayrshire’s night time economy.

"This resulted in no significant incidents of disorder or violence over Christmas and New Year.

"The community wellbeing unit continues to work with identified offenders to deter them from future involvement in criminality."

The figures were revealed at a meeting of NAC's police and fire and rescue committee, held on Monday, February 26.