Friday, 18 April 2014

Drop in North Ayrshire knife crime

Crimes of carrying an offensive weapon in North Ayrshire have fallen by 57% since the Scottish Government’s ‘No Knives Better Lives’ campaign was extended to the local area in 2012.

The remarkable drop in recorded offences was revealed last week by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill (pictured) during a visit to North Ayrshire. The SNP MSP also pointed to a 24% fall in violent crime across the district in the last year for which figures are available (2012-2013).

The ‘No Knives Better Lives’ campaign involves a local partnership between North Ayrshire Council, Police Scotland and youth groups, which delivers activities in schools and communities aimed at educating and informing young people about the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife.

Kenny MacAskill said, “Crimes of handling an offensive weapon - including knives - have dropped dramatically in North Ayrshire, falling by a massive 57 percent since 2012 and, helped by campaigns such as ‘No Knives Better Lives’, are now at their lowest level in Scotland for 27 years.”

The Justice Secretary said the SNP Scottish Government has consistently made the case that the best way to tackle violence is through enforcement, education and prevention, adding, “Our campaign has been a great success, with handling offensive weapons crime reducing significantly in all 11 areas where the programme is running and youth crime across Scotland falling by more than 50 percent since 2008/09.”

Mr MacAskill told his North Ayrshire audience, “There is never an excuse for carrying a knife and we will continue to work tirelessly with all of our partners to get the message home and change the culture in which some people think that carrying a weapon is acceptable.”

The Scottish Government’s Criminal Justice Bill, currently going through parliament, will seek to increase the maximum penalties for knife possession from four to five years.

Recorded crimes of handling an offensive weapon in North Ayrshire fell from 157 in 2011/12 to 67 in 2012/13.

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