Police in deadly weapons blitz on city thugs

A DEADLY arsenal of weapons including machettes, knives and axes, has been seized from thugs after more than 36,000 searches by police.

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The weapons were recovered in a series of targeted searches
The weapons were recovered in a series of targeted searches

Officers in Glasgow city centre carried out, on average, more than 100 searches a day, since April last year. The Evening Times can today reveal 36,890 stop-and-searches resulted in 6294 "positive" results, with officers finding weapons, drugs and stolen property.

And our figures show weapon-carrying in Glasgow has halved in the last two years.

As part of the on-going crackdown, a haul of lethal weapons, including razor-sharp knives and deadly axes, were taken off the streets of Glasgow.

Other items seized were hammers and a sharpened wooden stake.

The searches took place in the city centre between April 1 and January 31.

Senior police officers say the "targeted" strategy has contributed to a fall in violent crime, since the creation of a single national force last April.

Chief Inspector Alan Porte said: "We have had some real success in Glasgow city centre in reducing the numbers of people carrying knives and other weapons.

"Officers will continue to continue to stop and search those suspected of such irresponsible and dangerous behaviour, in order to keep the rest of us safe."

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

The area commander for Glasgow city centre spoke as officers revealed some of the deadly weapons seized under the powers.

The number of people carrying knives has fallen 51% in the last two years.

Figures show there were 77 weapon-carrying offences in the city centre last year. This is down from 159 in 2011. Police chiefs say the falls in arrests and charges are linked to an increase in stop and searches.

As well as blades, weapons can include baseball bats, knuckle-dusters and glass bottles.

In Scotland, people are searched either by consent or under powers granted by legislation.

Across the country, more than 70% of the stop and searches carried out were consensual, with around 28.5% conducted under the use of legislation.

The Evening Times previously revealed how knife-carrying in Glasgow city centre has reached historic new lows.

POLICE believe the on-the-spot searches have led to a dramatic reduction in serious violent crime.

The most recent figures show a record low of 0.5% of the searches carried out had a "positive result" with arrests being made - and weapons confiscated.

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

Last month, Police Scotland revealed an increase in the number of stop and searches which result in the seizure of drugs, weapons or alcohol.

Across Scotland, officers carried out a total of 519,213 stop and searches, between April and December 2013. This was a slight decrease of - 0.2% - on the same period the previous year.

However, they said positive results had increased from 13.9% of searches to 19.7%.

More than 90% of all searches related to drugs, alcohol or weapons.

Assistant Chief Constable Wayne Mawson said: "Searches are targeted and intelligence led and often conducted with the consent of those involved.

"Local communities repeatedly tell us that reducing violent crime, and having a visible policing presence on our streets, is a priority for them.

"The decision to conduct a stop and search can, and has in many cases, resulted in harmful weapons, dangerous drugs and stolen property being recovered. It is vital to ensuring that Police Scotland can continue to keep people safe."

rebecca.gray@eveningtimes.co.uk

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