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Last Updated: Monday, 19 September 2005, 09:03 GMT 10:03 UK
Jamieson vows to tackle violence
Knife crime is a particular problem in parts of Scotland
The justice minister has repeated her pledge to tackle the "booze and blade culture" after a survey pointed to a high level of violence in Scotland.

The UN survey said that people in Scotland were most likely to be the victims of assault.

Cathy Jamieson said Scotland remained a safe place and she would continue to try to reduce the crime rate.

Responding to criticism of the study, a UN researcher said the findings were likely to be repeated in a new survey.

Ms Jamieson told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "I don' t think we want to give a message within Scotland or even beyond Scotland that this a place where it's not safe to walk the streets and that people are routinely being attacked, because that's simply not people's experience.

"We do know from recorded crime figures that crimes of violence, apart from those with a sexual element, have dropped.

It's highly unlikely that we will find that England, Wales and Scotland are no longer on top in Europe for this particular type of crime
Jan Van Dijk
Head of analysis

"But we also know that in some parts of Scotland there is what's been described as the booze and blade culture where young men in particular are involved in violence that is completely unacceptable."

The international study was based on telephone interviews conducted between 1991 and 2000.

It suggested that 3% of people in Scotland had suffered an assault, with England and Wales second highest at 2.8%.

Fife Chief Constable Peter Wilson, the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos) criticised the report and insisted that the general perception of Scotland was "not one of a violent country".

Cathy Jamieson
Ms Jamieson: "Crimes of violence have dropped"

He questioned whether useful comparisons could be drawn between various countries with differing reporting practices, including the US, Poland and Japan.

However, Jan Van Dijk, head of analysis at the UN Inter-regional Crime and Justice Research Institute, defended the study and said the findings looked set to be repeated when the results of a new study were published on 14 November.

He said: "It's highly unlikely that we will find that England, Wales and Scotland are no longer on top in Europe for this particular type of crime. "It's my experience that the levels of common crime don't change so much in the course of just a few years.

"These are fairly stable patterns and it has been obvious for many years that the level of violence, not necessarily homicides but ordinary violence, has been comparatively elevated in the United Kingdom."

Watch Reevel Alderson's report

Scotland worst for violence - UN
18 Sep 05 |  Scotland
Police condemn knife crime level
18 Jul 05 |  Scotland
Crackdown targets knife culture
22 Nov 04 |  Scotland
Stabbings 'a public health issue'
17 Oct 04 |  Scotland


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