Knife and violent crime named as main policing concerns for Scots

Police Scotland are being urged to 'listen' to the results of the poll.

Knife and violent crime named as main policing concerns for Scots iStock

Knife crime and violence have been named as the key issues that most Scots would like to see police prioritise.

Police Scotland are being urged to “listen” to the results of a poll which found more than half of those surveyed said they are concerned about attacks involving weapons.

The Survation research for 1919 magazine found that 52% of Scottish people said “knife crime and violent crime” was one of the most important issues in the country.

It was followed by child abuse inquiries and investigating sexual offences, both on 39%, while 24% said antisocial behaviour and 23% listed “drug and crime enforcement”.

David Hamilton, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, urged Police Scotland to “listen” to the results, and said it was time it started asking for more officers.

“Police Scotland can’t keep telling the public the kind of policing they need,” he told 1919 Magazine.

“Legitimacy is derived from serving the public, not directing it, so they must listen to this survey.

“The challenge is that this type of response requires police officers on the ground and the constant erosion of frontline police visibility as we absorb new responsibilities and demand makes this impossible.

“The force needs more officers and it’s high time they started asking for them.”

Assistant chief constable Steve Johnson said that “it remains a fact that most of us will not directly experience crime from one year to the next and that is a reality we work hard to preserve”.

“Across most types of violent crime, a significant number of victims are repeat victims and Police Scotland is focused and dedicated to supporting them, with our partners, and bringing perpetrators to justice,” he told the justice and social affairs publication.

“We remain fully committed to keeping our communities safe and one way of doing so is by removing illicit and harmful items, particularly knives, from a small number of people intent on causing harm.”

The findings, which come after Survation polled 1008 adults aged 16 and over in Scotland, have also seen calls for the Government in Holyrood to “ramp up its efforts” to tackle violent crimes.

However, with recorded crime down 41% since 2007 and the number of murders in the country at their lowest level recorded since 1976, the SNP government has defended its record.

Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Jamie Greene said: “Violent crime is surging on the SNP’s watch, so it is of little surprise that so many people want it to be treated as a top priority.”

And Scottish Labour’s justice spokeswoman Pauline McNeill said: “The statistics are clear – our police service needs all the support it can get to tackle violent crime of all kinds.”

But the Scottish Government spokesperson said recorded crime was at “one of the lowest levels since 1974″.

He said: “Over the long term, we have seen a significant reduction of police recorded non-sexual violent crime of 36 per cent between 2006/07 and 2020/21.

“Despite UK Government austerity we have increased police funding year-on-year since 2016/17, and have invested more than £10bn in policing since the creation of Police Scotland in 2013.

“We have invested more than £23m since 2008 in violence reduction programmes across Scotland, including over £16m to support the work of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit and more than £4m to No Knives, Better Lives.”

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