Longer jail sentences are going to be implemented from today onwards in Scotland for anyone who is arrested with a knife in Scotland’s town and city centres.
The offenders are to be prosecuted before a Sheriff and jury which would mean a potential increase of a maximum prison sentence from one year to four years.
It is being followed up after a pilot was introduced with successful results during the Christmas and New Year festive period aimed to deter knife offences and reduce violence.
The initiative between 12 December, 2011, and 23 January, this year, was deemed a success.
At the end of last year a ‘zero tolerance’ crackdown on knife carrying in Scotland’s town and city centres was enforced by the police.
A Scottish Government spokesman said that the six-week pilot provided a picture of knife related crime and established the importance of making the tougher action a permanent feature in fighting the violence and protecting the communities.
The number of knife crime offences reported to the prosecution service during the pilot was down to 212 an 18% reduction from the same period the previous year.
Out of those committing offences within a town or city centre 58 offenders were placed on petition and face more serious penalties.
The Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland QC, said that he was pleased to see that the prosecution service’s zero tolerance policy to knife crime has resulted in a reduction in the number of cases reported to the COPFS over the same period as last year.
The zero tolerance policy towards those who commit such offences in any Scottish town and city centres would become a permanent part of the prosecution policy.
The success of the policy would be measured by preventing just one act of violence he added