Crimes of handling an offensive weapon at lowest level in 29 years.
Crimes in Glasgow involving an offensive weapon have fallen by 76 per cent since 2006/07, and by 14% in the last year alone.
Recently published figures also show that violent crime in Glasgow has decreased by 12% between 2013/14 and 2014/15 and the number of homicides have fallen by 3% over the same period.
Today the Justice Secretary visited a youth engagement project based in Castlemilk to see how their work is helping to make an impact on the reducing crime rates in the city. He also met the young people benefitting from the programme which is based on the No Knives Better Lives message that aims to educate them about the dangers of knife crime.
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said:
"Crimes of handling an offensive weapon have dropped dramatically and are now at their lowest level in 29 years while the number of young people under 19 convicted of handling an offensive weapon has fallen from 812 in 2006/07 to 165 in 2013/14. This is thanks, in no small part, to the fantastic initiatives like the one in Castlemilk, which I visited today, and the Scotland wide No Knives, Better Lives programme.
"It is extremely encouraging to see the level of engagement already taking place in our schools and communities around the issue of knife crime. We know that knife crime has a devastating impact not only on individuals but family, friends and local communities which is why our preventative approach aimed at educating young people about the potential consequences of carrying a knife is so important.
"Since 2009 we have provided over £2.5 million of funding to the No Knives, Better Lives initiative, which has now been made available to all local authority areas in Scotland, to educate young people about the dangers and consequences associated with carrying a knife and encourage positive life choices away from violence.
"We have also committed £75 million to community initiatives throughout Scotland as part of our CashBack for Communities programme which invests money seized from criminals back into our communities. This innovative project invests money in a wide range of projects right across Scotland, mainly for young people, including sports and volunteering opportunities.
"The positive statistics in Glasgow mirror the Scotland-wide trend. Our country is becoming a safer place with crime at a 41 year low, violent crime down by over half since 2006/07 and homicides at their lowest levels since records began. We are cracking down on crime and people thinking of carrying a knife need to know they are risking a significant custodial sentence - in relation to knife possession offences courts in Scotland impose the toughest sentences in the UK.
"There is never an excuse for carrying a knife, it is unacceptable and is never the answer. We will continue to work tirelessly with all relevant partners to ensure this message hits home and do all we can to end Scotland's culture of knife crime once and for all."
Jim Sweeney, Chief Executive of YouthLink Scotland said: "The No Knives, Better Lives initiative is a powerful example of the positive impact that a youth work approach can have in supporting young people to deal with difficult situations and make positive choices.
"It empowers Young People through a programme of Action Research and Peer Education to be catalysts for change within their communities. Alongside this approach it offers training to enhance the skills, knowledge and confidence of those working with young people to address the issue of knife crime and knife carrying."
Fraser Howat, Head of Castlemilk Youth Complex said: "Initiatives of this nature are essential if we are to continue to tackle knife crime locally. That is why we are working with the schools in our area to deliver the initiative to all S1 to S3 pupils."
No Knives Better Lives is a youth initiative that works with local partners (council, police, youth groups) to deliver a range of activities in schools and communities, including diversionary activities, youth work interventions and events, to get the message across to young people about the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife, and encouraging them to make more positive life choices. For more information go to: http://noknivesbetterlives.com/
• The Homicides in Scotland statistics for 2014-15 are available here: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/09/8172
• The Recorded Crime in Scotland statistics for 2014-15 are available here: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/09/5338