Perth’s top police officer has urged councillors not to be too alarmed by a study which suggests a massive surge in violence across the city.
A Police Scotland performance review shows that the number of serious assaults has rocketed by more than 150%.
There were 68 such incidents in Perth reported between April and December last year, compared to just 27 the year before.
Chief Superintendent Eddie Smith was quizzed about the figures at a meeting of the council’s community safety committee.
He said the figures appeared high mainly because of a change in the definition of serious assaults, meaning that minor cuts which require paper stitches and gluing are now classed as “serious”.
“When you look at violence as a whole, the figures are in keeping with the five-year average,” he said. “But in terms of serious assaults in particular, we have seen an increase which is largely down to counting regulations and Scottish crime recording standards.
“This means that when a violent act has occurred, it is the consequence of the injury and how it is treated which shows whether it is a serious assault, as opposed to a common one.
“Whilst we would never trivialise any violent act, that maybe puts these numbers into context.”
The figures are also weighted by crimes recorded at Perth Prison.
Mr Smith said: “We have seen an increase in the number of serious assaults at the prison. We continue to work with the senior management there to see what assistance we can provide and if there’s any operations that would help.”
The detection rate for serious assaults has increased to 96.6%.
Petty assaults have dropped compared to the same nine-month period last year and there has been a significant reduction in robberies, falling by nearly 40% from 19 to 12.
The number of domestic abuse cases reported has also fallen by almost 20% from 1,163 to 944. Just over 50% of these case result in a crime being recorded.
The performance results also show that Perthshire police stopped and searched 1,096 people between June and November.