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Last Updated: Monday, 27 March 2006, 14:23 GMT 15:23 UK
Anti-violence campaign under way
Cathy Jamieson said she wants to tackle the booze and blades culture
A 12-month campaign against violent crime in Scotland has been launched.

The Safer Scotland campaign will see officers working with health, education and social workers in an effort to stop violent behaviour before it starts.

It comes as one of the country's top law enforcers admitted that previous strategies have had no great impact on violence levels over the past 40 years.

Scotland has one of Europe's highest violent crime rates, with more than 100 people killed in attacks each year.

Most assaults happen in Strathclyde and have been blamed on weekend drug and alcohol binges as well as the knife culture.

Detective Chief Superintendent John Carnochan, head of the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), said: "We know from our work over the past 15 months, that the efforts of criminal justice agencies alone will not solve the problem of violence.

There are no easy solutions but the broad approach taken by the VRU...is starting to have a real impact on violent crime rates in the west of Scotland
Cathy Jamieson
Justice Minister

"However, there is no doubt that concerted and co-ordinated action involving every individual and organisation with a responsibility or interest in reducing violence will make Scotland a safer place for everyone.

"We want to try and prevent violence from happening in the first place."

Deprived communities

Safer Scotland is being run by the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos) and the VRU, which was set up in Glasgow last year.

It will focus on deprived communities in the west of Scotland and the 16-24 age group.

A dedicated anti-violence website was unveiled at a conference in Glasgow on Monday, attended by more than 250 representatives from the police and health, education, and social work bodies.

The meeting was opened by Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson.

She said: "There are no easy solutions but the broad approach taken by the VRU, in which a whole range of partners work together to address both the causes and effects of violence, is starting to have a real impact on violent crime rates in the west of Scotland.

"I am determined to build on that, and the action which Scottish ministers are already taking to address the booze and blades culture in Scotland."

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