21st September 2012
Local MSP Duncan McNeil has raised conern that the resource to tackle knife crime is diminishing.
The MSP expressed his concern after a Freedom of Information Request to the Scottish Governent revealed that the the funding for promotional and marketing activities has decreased in Inverclyde since the No Knives Better Lives Intiative was piloted in the area. The amount of money spent on promotional and marketing activities in Inverclyde on the knives issue has gone from £52,684 in 2009/10 to £21,488 in 2010/11 and zero in 2011/12.
The number of stop searches for offensive weapons in Inverclyde has also reduced by 25%. Figures show that there were 1,235 fewer searches for weapons carried out in 2011 than the year before - when almost 5,000 searches were carried out.
Commenting on the findings Duncan McNeil said:
“The Greenock Telegraph’s Stop Knives Save Lives partnership with John Muir, the police, Crimestoppers and local businesses ultimately led to greater resource being provided to deal with the issue of knife crime and violent crime more generally in the area. The Scottish Government gave Inverclyde Council a £50,000 grant to set up the Joint Action Group which was designed to learn about the culture of violence in the area and identify ways to reduce it. The number of stop searches went up and awareness raising in the community also increased with educational programmes in schools and investment from the Scottish Government in marketing activities”
“However, following our investigation we are now seeing worrying evidence that the resources for tackling this issue are diminishing. Stop searches have been cut by around 25% and attempts to raise awareness have also reduced. The government can’t afford to be complacent on this issue. We need a consistent approach to ensure that the message continues to get across. If the government takes its eye of the ball there is a danger that knife crime will increase. I will be writing to the Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to get an assurance that the government are still committed to reducing knife crime in the area and I will be asking what measures he has in place to tackle the problem”