The number of drug crimes across Dundee has rocketed by 39% in the space of a year, the Tele can reveal.
Figures released by Police Scotland show that there was a total of 966 crimes involving drugs recorded between April 1 2016 and December 31 last year, which was a massive increase from the 693 in the same period of 2015.
Community leaders praised local officers for their proactive approach to carrying out regular raids in the city and urged them to continue their crackdown on illegal substances.
Jim Malone, of the Mill o’ Mains Tenants and Residents’ Association, said: “We are aware of drug dealing still going on.
“I do see the police out and about and there’s more and more of these places being opened up.
“However, in general I think there has been a drop in antisocial behaviour.
“Although there has still been some going on, the figures do appear to bear out that these incidents are being cracked down on.
“I think for a while we did see a lot more vehicles in the area and even at the weekend for example, I saw the police van with the camera on the top. In general the police are being more active in the area.
“They’ll never be able to get rid of all the drug problems, but I’d just urge them to keep working and it’s good to see they are still attending community council meetings too.”
Ron Neave, of the Fintry Community Council, said he was happy with the force’s efforts, but insisted more focus needs to be diverted on to the source of the drugs before they are transported into Dundee.
He said: “I don’t know what the answer is apart from perhaps more police on the ground.
“The thing is, it’s not small hauls that the police are getting. It’s large ones. How are these drugs getting into the city?
“The police keep saying they’ve got all these different agencies they work with, but are they being properly used?
“I understand there’s only so much they can do, but there must be an area where a group are organising the drugs coming in.
“I think if the police keep picking up big amounts, it’s about finding the sources of where they’re coming in from.
“One of the biggest problems must be that as one door is closed, the dealers open another one.”
Meanwhile, the number of reported incidents of sexual assaults and rapes has also risen by a large proportion in the space of a year.
There were 256 sexual assault offences reported to police between April 1 2016 and December 31 2016 compared with 195 for the same period in 2015 — a rise of 31%.
Reported rapes also increased from 68 to 82 — an increase of 20%.
But Alan Ross, community safety and public protection convener for Dundee City Council, urged the public not to be too concerned.
He said: “There should be no cause for alarm with these figures as there is a historical element in particular with sexual crimes.
“We’d like these crime levels to come down, but at the same time we have been doing a lot of work to give victims, who have been reluctant in the past, the chance to come forward and report what has happened to them.
“Particularly women, who are the most common victims.”
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said the rise was due to ongoing operations linked to Operation Slate.