POLICE chiefs have sought to reassure the public after reported incidents of antisocial behaviour showed a 79 per cent increase in the Highlands.
The figures show 6163 incidents such as criminal damage, noise and drunken behaviour from April to September 2018 - a rise from 3445 for the same period in 2017.
They were highlighted following a debate in the Scottish Parliament in which the Conservatives called for on-the-spot fines of up to £100 for more serious antisocial behaviour.
But Superintendent Mark Mackay of Police Scotland’s Highland and Islands division said the way figures were recorded changed last year and violent crimes and antisocial behaviour had reduced.
“Statistics can be very useful as indicators of performance but context is also important,” he said.
“Communities in the Highlands and Islands can be assured that we take reports of anti-social behaviour very seriously and continue to act on any concerns which we receive.”
Highlands and Islands Conservative MSP Edward Mountain said antisocial behaviour tended to hit the elderly and vulnerable the most.
“Decisive action is needed and we must give our constables more power to deliver swift justice to offenders with a higher fine of £100 for more serious antisocial behaviour, “ he said.