Glasgow SNP MSP and member of the Justice Committee at the Scottish Parliament Humza Yousaf has welcomed new figures which show a significant fall in knife crime in Scotland.

The number of weapon handling offences in Scotland has dropped from 9628 in 2005-06 to 6283 in 2010-11.

Figures released and published in today’s Herald newspaper also reveal that 31% of people convicted of possession of a knife or offensive weapon in Scotland are given a custodial sentence, compared to 20% in England and Wales in 2010.

The average custodial sentence in Scotland is also over 100 days longer (288) than in England and Wales (165).

Mr Yousaf said:

“These are hugely encouraging statistics. Knife crime is on the back foot thanks to the tough stance adopted by the Scottish Government. The SNP is determined to continue on this path of making it completely unacceptable to carry an offensive weapon in Scotland.

“The SNP has introduced key measures including increased powers for the police and a harder-line in Scottish Courts, which have resulted in the reduction in knife crime that we see today.

“However, there is no room for complacency and it is vital that we continue to strive to beat this problem which still exists in too many of Scotland’s communities.

Linda Fabiani MSP hailed the Scottish Government’s approach of combining education and early intervention with action by the police and courts.

The SNP MSP for East Kilbride, where the No Knives Better Lives education campaign is being rolled out in Lanarkshire today, said:

“By educating our young people about the devastating impact of knife crime, we can prevent these crimes from happening in the first place. The No Knives Better Lives campaign has had excellent results in reducing knife-carrying in Inverclyde and Renfrewshire, which I hope we will see replicated in South Lanarkshire.

“Through a joined-up approach with the police, schools and communities working together, we can get the knives off our streets.”

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