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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 September 2005, 17:03 GMT 18:03 UK
Scotland worst for violence - UN
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The report claims there are 2,000 attacks per week
Scotland has been named the most violent country in the developed world by a United Nations report.

The study found that, excluding murder, Scots were almost three times as likely to be assaulted as Americans.

Victims of crime in 21 countries were interviewed by the UN, but senior Scots police officers criticised the study.

The survey concluded that 2,000 Scots were attacked every week. That figure is 10 times the number recorded in official police figures.

'Upward trend'

The figure for Scotland dwarfs that of other developed nations such as Japan, where people are 30 times less likely to be attacked.

The study, based on telephone interviews conducted between 1991 and 2000, said 3% of people in Scotland had suffered an assault, while the figure for England and Wales was second highest at 2.8%.

Both Australia and New Zealand had the next highest proportion of assaults among their population at 2.4%, exactly double the level reported for the United States.

Jan Van Dijk, head of analysis at the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, said Scotland had seen "a clear and upward trend" in the number of assaults since 1996 when the proportion was 1.9%.

However, the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos), Peter Wilson, said that the "general picture" of Scotland around the world was "not one of a violent country".

While violent crime has decreased recently in Scotland, people are still the victims of violence, especially knife crime
A Scottish Executive spokesman

He said: "I would question the compatibility of figures and the methods used in this particular survey because it must be near impossible to compare assault figures from one country to the next based on phone calls.

"We have been doing extensive research into violent crime in Scotland for some years now and these have shown that in the vast majority of cases, victims of violent crime are known to each other."

A Scottish Executive spokesman added: "While violent crime has decreased recently in Scotland, people are still the victims of violence, especially knife crime.

"That's why we will address the culture of violence by doubling the maximum penalty for carrying a knife to four years, by strengthening police powers of arrest for people suspected of carrying a knife, and by raising the age at which a person can buy a non-domestic knife from 16 to 18.

"We are also reforming Scotland's drinking laws to help reduce the connection between alcohol and violent crime."

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