In 2009, Inverclyde became the first testing ground for the “No Knives Better Lives” programme. Since then, crimes including the handling of offensive weapons have plummeted by 60% in the council area, while the violent crime rate has dropped by 33%.
These figures were announced by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill during a meeting with young people at an event in Greenock. The youngsters are among the beneficiaries of the anti-knife campaign, which brings together local councils, the police and youth groups. The programme involves educational activities in schools and local communities, with young people being informed about the dangers of carrying a knife and the profound impact of knife crime on communities. Since the launch of the programme in Inverclyde, ten other Scottish areas have introduced the mentoring initiative.
As MacAskill told his young audience, the “No Knives Better Lives” campaign has contributed to bringing local offensive weapons crime to a 27-year low. The initiative has proved very successful, confirming that education and prevention are the best ways to address violence. As a result of the programme, offensive weapons crime has fallen significantly in every area involved with the campaign and the youth crime rate in Scotland has halved in the last six years.
MacAskill went on to add that the government remained committed to working alongside its partners, making it perfectly clear that carrying a weapon is unacceptable. The education programmes rolled out in Scotland complement the knife crime sentencing legislation, which is already the strictest in the UK and can result in serious prison time for people caught carrying a weapon, he noted.