GUN crime in the Strathclyde Police area is down 40% in the last year – and the drop is more than double the fall in the Scottish total.

Gun crime across all Scotland fell by less than 20%, according to Scottish Government figures.

Offences where an identified firearm was alleged to have been used in Strathclyde dropped from 199 in 20010/11 to 119 last year.

The reduction of 80 was greater than in the whole of the country, where it fell by only 60 offences.

Other forces saw an increase, with Lothian and Borders, Central and Northern all recording more offences.

Overall figures, which include offences where a firearm was alleged but not identified, also fell in Strathclyde by 30%, down from 359 to 250.

The most common offences were reckless conduct and robbery, accounting for 57 and 50 cases respectively.

In Scotland the overall total was a drop of about 20%, down from 643 to 514.

In Strathclyde, guns were used in four homicides, nine attempted murders, four serious assaults and 47 common assaults.

Across Scotland, there were five homicides involving guns, 11 attempted murders, six serious assaults, 70 robberies and 97 common assaults.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "These figures represent great progress in tackling the menace of firearms offences in our communities.

"Year on year the number of crimes involving guns on our streets is dropping rapidly.

"The message appears to be getting across that anyone caught using them can and will be punished heavily."

A separate category of miscellaneous firearms offences, which includes possession, handling and distributing weapons and ammunition, shows a slight increase in Strathclyde, from 295 to 297.

In Scotland that figure fell from 649 to 620.

The number of injuries and deaths from firearms in Scotland also fell, by 14% from 111 to 95.

The total includes air guns, which accounted for almost 40% of offences, down slightly from 234 to 195.

Figures for the number of officers show police strength has been maintained in Strathclyde, with a rise of 38 from 8404 in September 20011 to 8432 in September this year.

Across Scotland's eight police forces, which next April will merge into the Police Service Of Scotland, numbers increased from 17,265 17,454 over the same period.


The message is getting across that anyone caught using guns will be punished heavily