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City knife crime figures down 67%

Crimes of handling an offensive weapon have dropped by more than two thirds in the last seven years in a Scottish city, according to new figures.

The Glasgow statistics were released as Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill launched a poster campaign warning young people about the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife, and promoting positive choices.

The poster launch is part of the No Knives, Better Lives (NKBL) campaign which was introduced in Glasgow in 2010 and runs in 10 other local authority areas including Edinburgh.

Campaigners said that all have shown a significant drop in knife-crime activity since the programme was introduced.

The poster campaign will run for four weeks across poster sites on bus shelters, phone kiosks and sport and recreation centres in communities most affected by violent behaviour in Glasgow.

Mr MacAskill, said: "Crimes of handling an offensive weapon (including knives) have dropped dramatically in Scotland, falling by a massive 67% in Glasgow and 60% in Scotland since 2006/07.

"We have consistently said that the best way to tackle violence is through education and prevention and our £2 million No Knives, Better Lives campaign has been a great success, with handling offensive weapons crime reducing significantly in all 10 areas where the initiative is running.

"There is never an excuse for carrying a knife and we will continue to work tirelessly with all of our partners to hammer the message home and change the culture in which some people think that carrying a weapon is acceptable.

"Backed by our education programmes Scotland already has the toughest knife crime sentencing regime in the UK and those caught risk a significant custodial sentence."

The figures are from the Recorded Crime Bulletin 2012/13.

Mr MacAskill launched the poster campaign at the Ashgill Recreation Centre in Milton where a range of sporting activities are made available for young people, in support of NKBL's commitment to promote positive life choices.

The campaign is targeting Parkhead Cross, Govan Cross, Wyndford, Maryhill, Cranhill and Milton which were chosen in partnership with Glasgow Community Safety Services.

Campaigners said the latest statistics show that youth crime is at its lowest level for 27 years with a reduction of 50% across Scotland over the last six years alone.

Councillor Fariha Thomas, chair of community safety Glasgow, said: "The results speak for themselves, No Knives, Better Lives has successfully got young people to think differently about carrying a knife. In combination with the Glasgow Council's work to offer alternative activities, we are seeing a real difference in attitudes towards carrying a knife and knife crime.

"Across Glasgow we have used a range of innovative tactics such as hard-hitting talks in schools; youth work interventions, diversionary activities, tough enforcement on the streets and like today's launch, the use of targeted advertising in areas where young people are known to congregate."

She added: "Reaching out to young people and peer groups to highlight the fact that carrying an offensive weapon is completely unacceptable is vital to try and prevent the devastating personal consequences knife crime can have on ordinary families here in the city."

The other 10 local authorities in which NKBL is running are Inverclyde, Renfrewshire, Clackmannanshire, West Dunbartonshire, East Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, North Lanarkshire, Edinburgh, North Ayrshire and West Lothian.

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