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Strengthened knife crime prosecution policy 09/04/2012 Anyone arrested with a knife in Scotland's town and city centres will now prosecuted on petition ....

Strengthened knife crime prosecution policy

A newly strengthened prosecution policy means that anyone arrested with a knife in Scotland’s town and city centres will now prosecuted on petition and their guilt decided by a Sheriff and jury rather than by summary complaint.

This allows a greater sentencing power for the Sheriff and increases the maximum prison term from one to four years.

The strengthened prosecution policy has been introduced as a result of a successful pilot over the Christmas and New Year festive period aimed at deterring knife offences and reducing violence.

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 between 12th December 2011 and 23rd January 2012. The Crown Office initiative followed the strengthening of the prosecution policy for those found in possession of a knife; on licensed premises; when local gang involvement is probable; on public transport or at a bus or train station: which was announced in July 2011 by the Lord Advocate.

The six-week pilot provided a snapshot of knife related crime and demonstrated the value in making the tougher action a permanent feature of the fight to deter violence and protect communities.

The number of knife crime offences reported to the prosecution service during the pilot was down to 212 - a reduction by 18% from the same period the previous year. Of those offences committed within a town or city centre 58 offenders were placed on petition and face more serious penalties.

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