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Last Updated: Monday, 6 November 2006, 00:03 GMT
Police to blitz knife gang areas
Policeman holding a knife - Getty Images
Police will use metal detectors to search for knives
Police are to use stop and search powers targeting gangs in the latest crackdown on knife crime in Scotland.

The month-long campaign, starting on Monday, will use hand-held and walk-through metal detectors to search for blades being carried by people.

During the summer more than 1,000 weapons including swords, machetes and meat cleavers were seized.

Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson warned that new measures mean persistent knife carriers face up to four years in jail.

Scotland's eight forces will target gang-plagued areas using intelligence-led searches.

Knife amnesty

The scanning devices proved hugely successful in the previous crackdown, which ran from 30 June to 6 August 2006.

That campaign was launched to target those who did not take advantage of the five-week nationwide knife amnesty which ran until 30 June.

The amnesty saw 13,000 weapons handed in across Scotland.

Since the last crackdown ended police have continued to seize a variety of weapons that could kill or maim.

We will continue to do everything possible to tackle knife crime
Chf Insp Alex McGuire

A 15-year-old was found with an 18in metal pole with a homemade handle at a park in Elgin, Moray.

Two men, aged 23 and 26, were arrested in Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire, after they were discovered in possession of a samurai sword.

And a 14-year-old boy in Pollok, Glasgow, was caught with a 6in blade, while a 17-year-old youth in Livingston, West Lothian, was found carrying a meat cleaver.

The new crackdown is part of the year-long Safer Scotland campaign, which has previously included a blitz on underage drinkers.

'Deadly weapons'

Chf Insp Alex McGuire, from the Safer Scotland co-ordination unit, said: "A small minority continue to ignore our warnings and seem to think they are above the law.

"In the weeks ahead, officers the length and breadth of Scotland will be actively searching for knife carriers.

"We now have even more ways of searching for weapons and we will continue to do everything possible to tackle knife crime."

Ms Jamieson said: "We will make knife carriers think twice before they take to the streets with these deadly weapons in their pocket."

Measures introduced in September mean anyone caught carrying a knife in Scotland faces custody until they appear in court.

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