Knife crime offences fall in festive period to lowest level in 18 years

Man in a hoodie holding a knife Tough warnings were issued about knife crime before the festive period

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Knife-related crime dropped 28% in Scotland over the festive period, according to official figures.

The number of offences reported by the police fell by over a quarter between 1 December and 4 January when compared to the previous year.

Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC, Scotland's top law officer, said: "The significant reduction is very encouraging.

"This builds on the equally significant reduction of 18% the previous year."

The Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill says the figures are very positive and underline the continuing commitment of prosecutors, police, government and partners working with young people to tackle knife crime.

Mr Mulholland sent out a warning before Christmas that anyone caught with a knife could be prosecuted and handed a maximum sentence of four years in prison.

'Lowest level in 18 years'

"Although there is no tangible proof, I believe that, due to the significant reduction in knife crime for the last festive period, lives will have been saved," he said.

"However, we are not complacent and we will continue to work with the police, the Violence Reduction Unit and the Scottish Government to enforce our knife crime policies and continue to use other innovative ways of tackling knife crime in Scotland."

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill also welcomed the figures.

"The significant drop in the number of knife offences during the Crown Office festive campaign is very positive and underlines the continuing commitment of prosecutors, police, government and partners working with young people to tackle knife crime," he said.

"Working together, we are making progress. The number of people caught carrying offensive weapons is down to its lowest level in 18 years and are receiving the longest prison sentences in a decade.

"But we recognise there is always more to be done. We believe the best way to do this is through a combination of tough enforcement and education, such as the No Knives Better Lives campaign and the work of Violence Reduction Unit to tackle the root causes of violence and end this blight on our communities."

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