Violence has escalated to worrying levels in Dumfries and Galloway this year, shock new statistics have revealed.

Police Scotland have released figures for the first half of the year – April 1-September 30 – which demonstrate a significant increase in several crime categories.

While just one attempted murder was recorded in the region in the first half of the year for the last five years, there have been six attempted murders and a murder within six months this year.

Meanwhile, 107 sexual assaults were recorded between April and September this year – compared to a five-year average of 86.4.

Police Scotland’s Dumfries and Galloway Division explained why the figures, particularly the attempted murders, have risen sharply.

In a report produced for the council’s police, fire and rescue sub-committee on Wednesday, the police state: “Of note is the presence of six attempted murders which is unusual for the division and important to cover.

“Three of the offences relate to a single, well-publicised incident which occurred in Dumfries and involved a vehicle allegedly being driven at victims.

“A further crime was recorded on the Whitesands in Dumfries and also involved a vehicle. This was the same incident which resulted in the recorded murder taking place.

“The remaining two crimes were as a result of domestic incidents which occurred within home addresses. In all cases, the victims and perpetrators were known to each other and are detected.”

Police underlined that last year’s figures were not typical due to Covid lockdown restrictions,

They also highlighted that serious assaults are at a five year low, with a healthy detection rate – only two of 33 the crimes are undetected. Five of these incidents occurred within licensed premises.

The number of robberies and assault with intent to rob between April and September this year was 13, which is up two on the previous year and slightly higher than the five year average of 11.8.

Common assaults recorded in the same six month period this year were 704 – compared to the five year average of 773.

However, assaults of emergency workers climbed to 129 this year, which is a marked increase on the five year average of 98.

The police report states: “Assaults on emergency workers and, most commonly, police officers is of concern. These occur most often during arrest and most commonly involve perpetrators kicking out at officers.

“The vast majority of incidents do not result in injuries being sustained. The trend of perpetrators coughing and spitting in officers faces experienced last year during the peak of the pandemic is now in decline.

“Disorder complaints have reduced following the significant spike in calls received last year due to non-compliance with Covid restrictions.”