TWO children in West Dunbartonshire are in the list of the top five repeat missing persons across the whole of Scotland.

They are amongst a total of 141 people who have been reported to police as missing in the area this year.

Around half of the cases involved children – many of them looked-after children.

The figure is well down on 2017, when 807 missing persons were reported in West Dunbartonshire.

This years’s statistics came to light at a council community planning meeting last month, when councillors were briefed by Superintendent Brian Gibson, Police Scotland’s head of operations for Argyll and West Dunbartonshire.

Supt Gibson told the Post: “Anyone reported as missing is classed by police as a vulnerable person – and we will do our best to locate them as quickly as possible.

“This is sometimes a challenging aspect of our work but we work closely with our partner agencies to reduce the chance of any possible harm that may come to them.”

Supt Gibson also told councillors that there has been an increase in violent crime over the year in the area.

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Violent crimes are up 16.7 per cent on last year, with a total of 98 recorded crimes compared to 84 last year.

Despite the overall rise, there has been a reduction from a first quarter increase of 23.8 per cent.

Officers put the increased crime levels down to the implementation of new domestic abuse legislation.

Figures recorded at the end of the second quarter continue to show a slight increase in domestic abuse incidents which have gone up from 625 to 671.

Domestic abuse crimes have also increased by 31 per cent, from 316 to 414. Both these figures remain higher than the previous five-year average.

Meanwhile, serious assaults increased from 45 to 54 for the same period and attempted murders have risen from two to five.

Robberies, however, have dropped from 11 to three.

The detection rate for violent crime has fallen from 79.8 per cent to 61.5 per cent, which equates to eight less crimes being detected.

Four of the five attempted murders have been detected (80 per cent) and the detection rate for serious assault is at 63.5 per cent.

Supt Gibson added: “We have been carrying out high-profile operations across the entire area, [running] both local and national campaigns, and we will continue to do so in the future.”

A spokeswoman for the local authority said: “We work very closely with our partners to gather information which then allows us to act quickly and effectively in the event a child does go missing.

“We will continue to utilise these resources and work directly with each child to identify risks and employ preventative methods.”

According to the latest figures available, Police Scotland investigated a total of 807 missing persons cases in West Dunbartonshire in 2017.