Glasgow is a no-go zone for thugs

GLASGOW'S top cop today warned the city centre is a "no-entry zone" for violent thugs intent on causing trouble.

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Police will be ensuring that revellers are safe from criminals
Police will be ensuring that revellers are safe from criminals

Chief Inspector Alan Porte's hard-hitting warning comes as police gear up for one of the busiest times of the year, with ten of thousands of revellers taking to the streets.

Mr Porte - area commander for Glasgow City Centre - wants to ensure the public have a safe and enjoyable time.

But he warned anyone caught carrying a weapon as part of the latest crackdown will be arrested and face prosecution.

Mr Porte said today: "My message to anyone who plans to bring a weapon into Glasgow City Centre is clear: do not do it.

"If you bring a weapon into the city centre, you will be arrested, dealt with robustly, and subjected to the full rigour of the law."

Police will be using on-the-spot searches to catch criminals and lock them up - before a serious assault is committed.

"We know who will be carrying weapons and we will target them," Mr Porte added.

His officers will continue to use stop-and-search powers to crackdown on those carrying weapons, drugs and alcohol on the city streets. Anything illegal will be confiscated. Underage drinkers will also be targeted.

Mobile CCTV units will be deployed and extra resources have been drafted into the city centre.

Extra officers will be on the beat, targeting a range of issues including anti- social behaviour, disorder, theft and drugs.

Entry points in the city centre such as Buchanan Bus Station and train stations will be covered by policing teams during peak days.

Senior officers hope the public will notice and be reassured by the "increased police presence" on the streets. Mr Porte said: "There will be an increase in resources in the city centre, simply because of the increase in number of people in the city centre.

"As well as targeting criminals, we must also protect the public.

"We want people to come in to the city, enjoy what it has to offer, and get home again safely."

Mr Porte - who is in charge of policing the city centre - believes stop-and-searches on suspected criminals are vital to keeping serious crime down.

Fewer people are now bringing blades into the city centre, with knife carrying down 21% - to 18 incidents from 23 the previous year.

Possession of an "offensive weapon" has also fallen by more than 28%.

Earlier this year, the Evening Times revealed how serious assaults in Glasgow city centre have fallen by more than 40%.

There were just 16 serious assaults in the police beat in a three-month period, against 27 in the same period last year.

And only two of those serious assaults, between April to the end of June this year, involved a weapon.

Officers recorded 49 "group one" crimes - such as serious assault and robbery - in the three months, against 59 last year.

Despite the improving figures, Mr Porte and his officers have vowed to continue to crackdown on knife-wielding thugs.

The senior officer said Police Scotland will "actively target" anyone carrying any kind of weapon.

Mr Porte added: "We will continue to keep people safe and ensure we all have the opportunity to enjoy the coming into the city centre."

rebecca.gray@eveningtimes.co.uk

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