Page last updated at 13:37 GMT, Friday, 29 May 2009 14:37 UK

Crackdown after knife crime rise

Swiss army knife
Police figures show a rise in knife crime in Forth Valley last year

The number of routine stop and searches in Forth Valley is to rise as part of a crackdown on knife crime in the area.

Central Scotland Police said males between the ages of 14 and 22 would be targeted as part of the initiative.

The move follows a sharp increase in the number of knife-related crimes taking place in Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire.

Figures from the force show a 66% rise in knife incidents across the Forth Valley.

Data also revealed that calls to police about knife crime has risen by 23% over the same period.

In particular, the Stirling area has seen the biggest increase although trouble spots in Clackmannanshire and Falkirk have also been identified.

The force said it had used criminal analysts to look at the issue of knife crime across the three towns to create a profile of the most likely perpetrators.

The results are being used to target specific "hotspots" and suspected offenders.

Ch Supt Gordon Mackenzie, head of the force's crime and specialist operations unit, said: "We are adopting this robust approach in an effort to ensure our communities are as safe as they can be and to reduce the number of people who could potentially become a victim of a crime where a knife is involved.

"We will be carrying out searches on those suspected to be carrying knives and we make no apologies for taking a tough stance.

"Carrying a knife has to become socially unacceptable, not the first line of defence for a certain age group."

Ch Supt Mackenzie said anyone under the age of 16 found with a knife would be taken home and spoken to in front of their parents.

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