Decrease in offensive weapons crime

New research to further enhance fight against violent crime.

Crimes of handling of offensive weapons fell by more than two thirds over the last decade.

There have been fewer convictions for handling offensive weapons and a fall in the number of emergency hospital admissions due to assault with a sharp object over the same period.

The findings form part of Recorded Crime in Scotland: Handling Offensive Weapons, a new research report examining  the characteristics of weapons-based crime recorded by the police. The paper expected to help inform further work to reduce violent crime.

Mr Matheson said:

“The world has taken notice of Scotland’s success in dealing with violent crime, in particular the work of our ground-breaking Violence Reduction Unit. We also continue to fund No Knives, Better Lives which aims to reduce the incidence of violence and knife carrying among young people.

“The trends in today’s report strongly suggest that we are making inroads in tackling this very serious issue. However, one violent incident is still one to many and we are determined to make further progress.

“This research gives us additional insight into both the victims and perpetrators of weapons-based crime and the circumstances under which it takes place. I want it to help inform our next steps in reducing violence in Scotland’s communities even further.”


Read Recorded Crime in Scotland: Handling Offensive Weapons.

Other key findings include:

  • The majority of criminal acts committed with a weapon against a person in a public setting involved no physical injury to the victim (71%).
  • The most common criminal act committed with a weapon in a public setting was threatening or abusive behaviour (44%), followed by common assault (32%) and serious assault (14%).
  • The majority of crimes of handling an offensive weapon in a public setting were committed by males (89%)
  • Certain individuals, such as teenagers and those in their 20s and 30s are more likely to either commit or be the victim of these crimes than would be expected compared to their population share

A quarter (25%) of crimes where the weapon was not used in other criminal activity, i.e. to threaten an individual, made reference to alcohol. This figure was slightly higher (31%) when the weapon was used in other criminal activity.


Media enquiries

Back to top