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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 July 2006, 11:49 GMT 12:49 UK
Amnesty nets thousands of knives
Central Scotland Police officer holds some knives handed into police at Alloa
A huge array of weapons was surrendered
More than 12,000 knives and other weapons have been handed in to police forces across Scotland during a five-week amnesty.

The UK-wide campaign ended at midnight on Friday 30 June.

Among the 12,645 weapons put in 220 bins in police stations across Scotland were machetes, swords, meat cleavers, bayonets and axes.

Police welcomed the result but said the amnesty was only the first stage of a year-long anti-violence campaign.

A break-down of the figures revealed that domestic knives accounted for the vast majority of weapons at 7,403.

There were also 2,982 domestic knives handed in, 474 swords, and 1,784 under the 'other' category.

Det Ch Insp John Carnochan, head of the Violence Reduction Unit, said the number of weapons surrendered was irrelevant.

"We never set any targets for the amnesty, so it didn't matter whether we got 12 or 12,000 weapons, it all helps to make the streets of Scotland safer," he said.

WEAPONS SURRENDERED
British Transport Police 96
Central 569
Dumfries and Galloway 446
Fife 658
Grampian 846
Lothian and Borders 1,840
Ministry of Defence 8
Northern 510
Strathclyde 6,704
Tayside 968
Total 12,645

But he warned: "A weapons surrender alone will not solve this deep-rooted problem, however it is part of the 'contain and manage' element of our long-term violence reduction strategy."

Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson said those who had ignored the amnesty would now be targeted.

"The message is clear - the police will be continuing to step up their enforcement efforts and have now entered their 'Shop a Knife Carrier' phase of the campaign," she said.

"This is supported by the Lord Advocate's changes to prosecution policy to clamp down harder on those who persistently carry knives, and the new measures in the police bill which will come into force in September."

Last week the Lord Advocate Colin Boyd warned that anyone caught with a knife would be held in custody automatically prior to a court appearance.

It is hoped the campaign will have a similar result to a knife amnesty thirteen years ago which saw murder rates drop by more than a quarter.

Fife knives haul
Police display swords handed in in Fife during the amnesty

The first batch of weapons collected is to be turned into scrap at a metal merchants near Glasgow on Tuesday.

The Scottish National Party welcomed the success of the amnesty but said tougher prison sentences and enforcement of knife laws were needed to tackle knife crime.

Stewart Stevenson MSP said: "An amnesty alone will not eradicate the knife culture which is plaguing Scotland's streets.

"We must make people know that carrying knives is not worth the risk.

Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell welcomed the amnesty results and the Lord Advocate's tougher stance on knife crime.

She added: "I hope that the Labour / LibDem executive will now wake up to the public's other demands that would make Scotland a safer place: complete honesty in sentencing and more police in our communities to deter crime and catch criminals."


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
See what has happened to the surrendered knives



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