Shock new figures have revealed the level of violent crime in a north-east town has rocketed.
Victims were left needing hospital treatment for fractures and scars after what were often drink-fuelled assaults in Fraserburgh.
The town’s most senior police officer – Chief Inspector Elaine Logue – pledged last night the force was committed to stemming the tide of brutality.
She admitted figures which showed there were 11 serious assault between April and December compared to just four for the same period the previous year were “concerning”.
Ms Logue said “Our focus is firmly on reducing violence.
“What we can try an do is prevent the violence in the first place.”
Ms Logue added that, in most cases, alcohol had played a role in the assaults and that programmes such as Pubwatch – which maintains a town-wide ban list for disruptive customers – would be used to stop crimes taking place.
But Denis Forsyth, who runs Cheers Cafe Bar and Tavern in the town centre, said the onus was on all licensed premises to help tackle the issue.
He said: “Pubwatch is a really good thing and it has been very effective, but from my feedback, from my supervisors and manager who attend the meetings, not all pubs are embracing it.
“Because of that, those people who are not getting entry because of misdemeanours are getting to drink in pubs who aren’t in Pubwatch.
“If everybody was embracing Pubwatch, it would be a very effective thing for the town.”
It is hoped that a future scheme with local inspectors holding regular meetings with secondary school guidance teachers will also help cut the number of offences taking place.
The project will link with work already being undertaken by schools to prevent criminal behaviour.
Last night, Margaret-Jane Cardno, Aberdeenshire Council’s area manager for Banff and Buchan, said that the council was working “positively” to take preemptive action to reduce offending.
She said: “We’re really keen to focus on early intervention and prevention. We’re working with young people who are at a stage where they just need a little bit of support to get into a positive destination.
“It’s not about labelling young people.”
Local councillor Brian Topping, who is chairman of the Fraserburgh Community Safety Group, said the figures revealed by police were “disappointing”.
“It is obviously disappointing, but it is partly due to the fact that more people are reporting crimes. That is pleasing,” he said.
“But these figures are caused by the public. To me, that doesn’t reflect badly on the police. I think it just reflects society. When figures go up, it isn’t the police’s fault, it’s the local community getting involved in things they shouldn’t be and that is very disappointing.
“I still think Fraserburgh is a very safe place to live and to work, but I would encourage people to report any sort of crime. Even if you think it is a waste of time, you’ve got to report it.
“Certainly, I would prefer the figures to go in the opposite direction, but if more people are reporting things then the numbers will be higher.”
His fellow Fraserburgh councillor Ian Tait added that the work of the local police force in Fraserburgh had achieved a marked improvement in the image of the town centre.
“It used to be very bleak,” he said.
“I think there has been an improvement in Fraserburgh’s town centre. It is all part of our regeneration drive.”