Zero tolerance knife campaign to launch

A zero tolerance campaign has been launched by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, aimed at cutting knife crime.

Offenders caught with a knife in a public place will be prosecuted on indictment before a sheriff and jury, resulting in a potential increase from a maximum prison sentence of one year to four years.

This year the policy also extends to anyone caught with a knife on domestic premises if the blade has been carried through a public place.

Last year’s campaign resulted in a 28% reduction in the number of knife-related cases from the same period the previous year, from 264 to 189, prosecutors said.

There was also a 60% drop in crimes of handling an offensive weapon since 2006.

Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC said : “We want Scotland to be a safe place to celebrate and enjoy the festive period.

“Knife carrying has no place in the festive celebrations. Carrying a knife added to alcohol consumption can be a lethal mix and lead to tragedy.

“Last year’s campaign saw a significant reduction in knife crime which was very encouraging.

“Anyone caught carrying a knife will feel the full force of the law, whether they have used it or not.”

Wayne Mawson, Police Scotland’s assistant chief constable, said: “This latest initiative will be a reassurance to all those many people who are out and about in our towns and cities as the festive season gets under way that they can enjoy themselves without fear.

“By making this announcement the Lord Advocate sends out a clear message to those who carry knives that their behaviour will not be tolerated and that they may spend a considerable time in prison.”

The campaign runs until January 6.