McConnell cracks down on knife crime


November 23, 2004, 12:01 PM

McConnell cracks down on knife crime


JACK McConnell went on the offensive against Scotland’s growing knife culture yesterday, announcing a series of tough measures he hopes will stem the "scandalously high" human toll from knife crime, particularly in Glasgow.

The First Minister said he would introduce sweeping new powers, allowing the police to arrest anyone found carrying a knife. He announced longer sentences for knife-related offences and said he would introduce major restrictions on the sale and possession of knives and blades.

The sale of all swords will be outlawed in Scotland, nobody under the age of 18 will be allowed to buy a knife of any sort, and retailers who want to sell non-domestic knives will have to be licensed and monitored.

The First Minister said Scotland had a responsibility to tackle the "scandalously high" level of knife crime in "our own time and our own way" and as soon as possible.

His changes go far beyond anything previously proposed in Britain and signal the Scottish Executive’s determination to take action on a problem that is escalating out of control in some parts of urban Scotland.

Knife crime is a particular problem in Glasgow, which has the worst murder rate in Britain, at 58.7 murders per million people - twice as high as London, where the rate stands at 26 per million.

Half of all homicides in Scotland as a whole and in Glasgow are caused by knives or other sharp instruments, according to the latest figures, and ministers believe they have to do something to stop the trend.

Mr McConnell announced his plans at a press conference in Edinburgh almost three years to the day after he succeeded Henry McLeish as First Minister.

Mr McConnell said: "It is my very strong view, and it is a view shared by the Cabinet, that far too many young men, particularly in Scotland, view the carrying or using of knives or offensive weapons as an acceptable practice. It is not acceptable. The law in Scotland must be clear, the system must protect innocent victims and the culture of Scotland, particularly in our cities, in relation to knives and violent crime, must change."

He added: "The sale of swords in Scotland today is fundamentally wrong. There can be no reason for people buying swords off the street for use or to have in their homes."

The Executive’s proposals are:

• A licensing scheme for the sale of non-domestic knives and similar objects. This would require all shops selling non-domestic knives to be registered and licensed. Any retailer caught breaking the law would have its licence revoked.

• Increasing the minimum purchasing age for knives from 16 to 18.

• Banning the sale of swords. While the sale of swords would be outlawed under the proposals, the Executive has no plans to ban swords being kept in private homes. There would, however, be a ban on the possession of a sword in a public place.

• Giving the police the ability to arrest anyone found carrying a knife. At the moment police can only arrest people if they prove they are carrying a knife, have grounds for believing a crime is going to be committed and a third reason such as breach of the peace. The Executive intends to sweep away all these conditions, allowing unconditional arrests to be made.

• Doubling the sentence for possessing a knife or offensive weapon from two years to four.

Officials were quick to point out that Mr McConnell’s proposals wouldl not affect anybody wearing a sgian dubh, which is already exempt from anti-knife legislation because it is part of Scotland’s national dress.

The First Minister conceded that all the new measures might not be in force for a couple of years because of the need to have a public consultation, then put the policies through parliament.

Mr McConnell said police would use existing powers such as stop-and-search to tackle knife crime.

He added: "We believe the police should have the power of arrest on suspicion of carrying a knife or offensive weapon.

"We need to shift the balance of power here in the law in favour of those victims who far too often - particularly in Glasgow city centre but in a number of other parts of Scotland too - find themselves in hospital on Friday or Saturday night as a result of what appears to be the casual incident of a passer-by."

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November 23, 2004, 12:04 PM
Meh. The people get the government they deserve good and hard.

November 23, 2004, 12:20 PM
I'm putting this one on my office door.

It's got all the cliches in it......No NEED for civilized people to own sword (assault knives), licensing and registration, age limits to purchase, concern on "knife culture," this is a riot!

Only sad because it's true.

But what a great case study of the mindset and ideas of the antis!

If someone had written this as a parody or satire of gun laws, nobody would believe it, it's so ridiculous.

But here it is, in the living flesh!


November 23, 2004, 12:25 PM
"Weapon*** Control" is never about the 'Weapon', it is all about Control. :banghead:

***Weapon can be knife sword club firearm gallon of 'petrol' rope chain archery equipment

Just insert device name of your choice in place of "Weapon"

El Tejon
November 23, 2004, 01:12 PM
When, oh, when will the Scots realise that it's not the knives--it's the hands.

Hands! Hands are killing our children. No one NEEDS a hand is civilised society. It's only purpose is to hold a weapon of child-killing. No more hands, no more crime.

It's for the children.

November 23, 2004, 01:42 PM
If someone had written this as a parody or satire of gun laws, nobody would believe it, it's so ridiculous.

Exactly my thought when I read it.

November 23, 2004, 03:37 PM
I'll be darned if we don't see an explosion in the sales of the sgian dubh.

Looks like what I'd have to pack in Scotland, even if it meant having to wear the skirt. ;)
The "skin doo" is on the right.

November 23, 2004, 04:12 PM
The truly sad thing is that they really don't see where this leads...

November 23, 2004, 06:27 PM
Yeah, I can see it now. Can't carry anything that's not made of foam rubber.

Standing Wolf
November 23, 2004, 06:34 PM
The First Minister said he would introduce sweeping new powers...

Why, what a very surprising thing for a leftist to do!

November 23, 2004, 08:03 PM
Connor MacLeod is spinning in his grave.

Don Gwinn
November 23, 2004, 09:01 PM
That's a thought. . . . how do they expect to enforce this when Scots seem to be able to conceal any length sword under a long coat without so much as a scabbard?

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