- 21 Feb 2019
Date received: 7 Jan 2019
Date responded: 4 Feb 2019
You asked for information regarding knife crime, including a list of crimes where knives have been presented.
I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested. The majority of the information you requested is not held by the Scottish Government.
Information is published on crimes of having in a public place an article with a blade or point, where the weapon was used to commit an additional crime or offence against a person. There were 1,643 such crimes in 2017-18 (see Table A4 of the 2017-18 National Statistics Bulletin – the first link below). 71.8% of those crimes were cleared up (i.e. detected).
Where an article with a blade or point has been used in a public place to commit an additional crime or offence against a person, that additional crime or offence will also be included in the National Statistics. However the Scottish Government does not hold information that identifies what these specific crimes or offences are. The reason for this is that the data we receive from Police Scotland for producing the National Statistics on Recorded Crime, is a simple count of the number of crimes and offences, for each local authority, which the police have recorded and cleared up. As such we cannot link crimes or offences together for any incident that may have involved the recording of more than one crime or offence.
In addition to the annual Recorded Crime statistics, we also published a study into the characteristics of crimes of handling an offensive weapon in June 2018 – which you might find useful. This study was based on a random sample of police recorded crimes, recorded between April and September 2017.
Table 14 in this publication (see second link below) shows a breakdown of crimes and offences that were committed in a public place with an offensive weapon, split by weapon type. This suggested that where the weapon was an article with a blade or point, 49% of cases involved threatening or abusive behaviour, 18% a serious assault, 17% a common assault and 13% a robbery.
You asked for information back to the year 2000. Statistics on crimes of having an offensive weapon in a public place, where the weapon was used to commit an additional crime or offence against a person, are only available from 1st April 2017 onwards. This is because a procedural change was made to how some crimes of handling an offensive weapon were recorded from 2017-18 onwards, which is detailed in Section 2.10 in the Recorded Crime in Scotland, 2017-18 bulletin (see first link below).
Prior to 2017-18, rather than be subsumed - crimes of handling an offensive weapon in a public place were considered an aggravation of any crime or offence they were used to commit against a person (for example an aggravated assault). More generally, the Scottish Crime Recording Standard provides guidance for how crimes and offences should be recorded by the police. Section D of this document describes how subsuming is implemented in the recording process (see third link below).
Recorded Crime in Scotland, 2017-18: https://www.gov.scot/publications/recorded-crime-scotland-2017-18/
Recorded Crime in Scotland: Handling Offensive Weapons:
Scottish Crime Recording Standard and Counting Rules:
Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you.
This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the majority of the information you have requested.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House