Knife crime at record low say police

KNIFE-carrying in Glasgow city centre has reached historic new lows, the Evening Times can reveal.

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Police searches are believed to be a key weapon in helping to bring down knife crime figures in the city
Police searches are believed to be a key weapon in helping to bring down knife crime figures in the city

Police carried out more than 2600 on-the-spot searches in the city centre last month.

It led to a dramatic reduction in serious violent crime. A record low of 0.5% of the searches carried out had a "positive result" with arrests being made - and weapons confiscated.

The latest figures show just 14 people were found to be carrying a weapon last month in the city centre.

It comes as top Glasgow cop Chief Inspector Alan Porte said the city centre was a "no-go zone" for violent thugs intent on causing trouble.

Mr Porte's comments came after police handled one of the busiest times of the year, with ten of thousands of revellers having taken to the streets in the run-up to and over the festive season.

Violent crime in the busy police beat has fallen to its lowest level in decades as officers get tough on knife carriers.

Last year, the Evening Times revealed that serious assaults in the city centre had 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 in 2012.

Mr Porte today linked the fall in knife-carrying with increased stop-searches.

THE senior officer said: "The use of intelligence-led stop-and-search as part of the strategy for policing Glasgow city centre is really paying dividends.

"Along with our partners we are being successful in continuing to reduce the levels of violence in the city."

"I am delighted that our message is getting across to those who may be tempted to carry weapons."

Police carried out 2640 stop-and-searches on suspected criminals in the centre of the city last month.

Around 17% of the searches resulted in arrests being made, and weapons, alcohol, drugs, or stolen property being confiscated.

Anyone caught with a weapon was arrested and reported to the procurator fiscal, Mr Porte said.

If the police are looking for more knives or encouraging victims to come forward, it is thought that officers should get more reports of crime and their statistics should go up.

However, the effect has been the opposite, and across the city centre, figures for violence are down dramatically.

City-centre cops dealt with almost 800 incidents during their two busiest weekends of the year.

More than 100,000 party-goers descended on the busy police beat in that period.

But there were just six serious assaults during the two weekends in December, and none of those incidents involved a weapon.

Among those calls to police were breach of the peace incidents, minor assaults and disorder.

Mr Porte deployed extra officers on the city centre's streets in an attempt to prevent crime and keep people safe.

WITH ABOUT 100,000 people descending on the city centre at weekends, it can be seen as a target for criminals looking for an opportunity.

However, high-visibility police patrols are sending a message to potential criminals, while also providing reassurance for the public.

Mr Porte said he was "delighted" with the falling levels of violent crime, but stressed that he and his officers would not become complacent.

He said: "My message to anyone who plans to bring a weapon into Glasgow city centre is clear: you will be arrested and subjected to the full rigour of the law."

rebecca.gray @eveningtimes.co.uk

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