Scotland's courts seize thousands of knives

Image caption The minister attributes the increase in knife seizures to improved security

More than 2,000 knives were seized in Scotland's courts last year, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has revealed.

The Scottish Court Service confiscated 2,030 weapons in 2010, compared to 311 in 2007.

The weapons included kitchen, Stanley and pen knives, scissors, razor blades and knitting needles.

The minister said the increase could be attributed to improved security in the courts and greater awareness among staff.

'Security arrangements'

Speaking at Holyrood, Mr MacAskill said: "The discovery of any weapon, or potential weapon, by staff is immediately reported to police, who have a presence and responsibility for public order in all our court buildings, and successful prosecutions have resulted from the Scottish Court Service's security arrangements."

Labour MSP Andy Kerr, who asked Mr MacAskill for the figures, said the statistics showed "a complete lack of faith and respect" for the Scottish government's approach to knife crime.

Mr Kerr said: "Will the minister finally see that his approach is not working and it's time to join tens of thousands of other Scots who want to see Labour's plans for a minimum mandatory sentence for knife carriers being brought into law."

Mr MacAskill said knife carrying in courts was not a new problem.

He said the actions of the government were working, with a higher police presence in communities and courts and a drop in violent crime.

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