More and more north-east residents are coming forward to report historic crimes of indecency, having had their confidence boosted by recent high-profile campaigns.
Figures revealed by the police show that there has been a 24.8% rise in reported cases of indecency in the Banff and Buchan area over the last year, with the tally jumping from 105 to 131.
It is thought that the cases mostly relate to offences which are historic in nature, and tie in with recent publicity campaigns aimed at encouraging people to speak out about being targeted years ago.
Fraserburgh and the surrounding district experienced the highest rise in reported crimes of indecency with an increase from 34 to 64 incidents between April 2018 and March 2019, a spike of 88.2%.
And in the Banff area the number went from 39 to 45, but in Troup it dropped from 32 to 22.
North East MSP, Lewis Macdonald, said: “I hope people who have been victims of sexual offences in the past feel able to report them, no matter how long it is since the crime occurred.
“Apart from serving the interests of justice, reporting such crimes can help reduce the number of victims of sexual offences in the future.”
Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson, added: “The increased reporting of crimes of indecency could be as a result of more people feeling comfortable in coming forward to do so.
“We must encourage north-east residents to feel able to report crimes and I am pleased to see that the overall trend suggests this to be the case.”
The police report, which will go before members of the Banff and Buchan Area Committee on Tuesday, generally paints a positive picture of falling crime in the region.
There have been 196 fewer reports of disorderly conduct in the 2018-19 period compared to the previous year, and figures for theft by house-breaking have dropped by 35.1% from 77 to 50.
Reports of crimes of violence have gone from 54 to 51 during the period, serious assault has fallen from 28 to 22 and motor vehicle crime has dwindled from 49 to 43.
Brian Topping, chairman of the Fraserburgh Community Safety Group, welcomed the findings last night but urged people to help the force apprehend even more offenders.
He said: “Without public information the police cannot act and apply their intelligence, so I urge people to come forward so that means police can help make our areas safer.”