A POLICE chief says Inverclyde's streets are safer after a rise in the number of knives and weapons seized.

Area commander Debbie Reilly says pro-active policing and community intelligence is helping officers crack down on crime in the district.

Figures produced exclusively for the Telegraph between April until June this year show 11 more weapons crimes were detected compared with the same period last year, 39 up from 28.

Chief Inspector Reilly said: "Through community intelligence we have been able to target the right people, at the right place at the right time.

"The public can be assured that even during a global pandemic, police have been working hard to make Inverclyde safer.

"Every weapon seized is one more serious crime prevented."

Overall however the number of weapons crimes reported increased to 47, compared with 31 the previous year.

The number of people caught drink/drug driving has almost doubled over the last 12 months, to 22.

Ch Insp Reilly said: "It is concerning that there is an increase in the number of people driving whilst impaired, however the increase in arrests reflects an increase in pro-active vehicle stops.

"These checks have been carried out with assistance from our colleagues in road policing.

"Their assistance along with the increased use of drug testing enables us to target those drivers who put others at risk.

"Road safety and road crime is one of the local policing priorities and our officers are very pro-active.

"They stop vehicles to give road safety advice and also to detect other aspects of road crime as well as drink or drug driving."

Other figures linked to this activity show that the number of motorists behind caught behind the wheel without a driving licence is on the rise.

This category was up to 30 compared with 18 in the period before.

No road fatalities were recorded, but more recently a 40-year-old man was killed in an accident on the A78 in Inverkip last month.

The number of people seriously injured on the roads halved, from eight to four and slight injuries also fell with only three people hurt compared with 24 the previous year.

In other areas of crime, there has been a worrying rise in fraud.

It has almost doubled, going from 33 reported cases to 61.

Chief Inspector Reilly said: "There has been a spike, especially cyber frauds.

"Fraudsters are becoming more and more sophisticated and it is a challenge for forces across the country.

"We have been increasing our safety message to the public as it's often a challenge to detect these crimes.

"There has been a national rise across a number of areas and not just in Inverclyde.

"During the pandemic more and more people have been online.

"Cyber-enabled fraud is faceless but the impact on victims can be significant.

"I would appeal to individuals to help family members who are not au fait with technology, or require assistance on how to spot a fraudulent email, to be extra vigilant and ensure they are aware of the risks involved ."