Concern is growing that increasing numbers of stab victims in Dumbarton and the Vale are not going to the police for fear of reprisals from their assailants.

Maurice Corry MSP says he has heard of instances when people wounded in knife attacks have “refused point blank” to report their injuries.

The Conservative politician, who has a remit for community safety, is concerned that the reluctance to report attacks is hiding the true level of knife crime in the community.

He told the Reporter: “I have heard of a couple of people from the Vale who went to hospital with stab wounds who were simply unwilling to go to the police.

“One of them, a man in his mid thirties, refused point blank to speak about it to officers.

“We have to create an environment where people will come forward and report these matters.

“I would appeal to anyone who has had the misfortune to be victim of a knife attack - or anyone who has witnessed or who has knowledge of a knife attack to make sure details are given to the police.”

Mr Corry was speaking after shocking levels of knife crime in England sparked calls for urgent action to stem the tide of youth violence south of the border and he called on Police Scotland to do more to ensure the situation was kept in check here.

He said: “Details emerging of the rise in knife crime throughout the country is alarming. Police Scotland need to take a more proactive approach to preventing these more serious incidents.

“This issue needs to be stopped immediately so it doesn’t escalate to the point we see it in other parts of the UK.”

Mr Corry said a recent incident in Helensburgh when a teenager was robbed at knifepoint near Hermitage Academy was “unacceptable and extremely alarming”.

He added: “There has been mention of metal detectors in schools previously.

“It is something I would support if it’s the best way to keep our children safe.”

The MSP said one way to support the police would be to recruit more special constables.

Mr Corry added: “People need to walk the streets safely and we need to focus on that type of crime.

“It’s very important to engage communities which can have a key role to play in this situation.”

Read more: Dumbarton and the Vale headlines

Inspector Mo Boyle at Dumbarton police office said: “I am not aware of instances of knife crime going unreported. Anyone who has any information about knife crime should call us on 101 or in an emergency dial 999.

“Our youth engagement officers are trained to deliver the No Knives Better Lives programme to young people and have been delivering this programme alongside work on the Choices For Life programme for a number of years.

“They regularly speak with young people about the dangers of carrying weapons and we work closely with partners including West Dunbartonshire Council and the national No Knives Better Lives team to ensure the messages about making safe and healthy choices are reaching our young people.”

Chief Inspector Alison Kennedy, from Police Scotland’s Safer Communities, said: “Knife crime ruins lives, it ruins the lives of the victim, their families and effects the communities where they live.

“Knife crime is incredibly damaging, it’s one element to violent crime and all violence has an impact so we are working really hard to address all of it and reduce violence across Scotland.”

A spokesperson for West Dunbartonshire Council said: “We work with police to protect and educate pupils about the potentially devastating consequences of carrying a knife.”