By Rory Reynolds
SCOTS are three times more likely to be murdered than our European neighbours, according to a new report by the European Commission.
Scotland’s murder rate also dwarfs that of England and Wales.
Of the 38 countries surveyed, Scotland had the second most murders between 2005 and 2007, with 2.17 per 100,000 people being murdered.
Scotland came behind Finland, which has the most murders in Europe with a massive 2.23 killings per 100,000 people.
This comes as a Scottish report has shown that thugs in Lothian and Borders, Grampian and Northern police areas are more likely to get fined than face any other punishment. Scotland’s high murder rate is directly linked to the prevalence of youths carrying knives.
Just 29% of people carrying knives were sent to prison, while 33% were given a community sentence and 27% were fined.
Labour’s justice spokesman Richard Baker said not enough is being done to put youths off carrying knives.
“We have to accept that half of murders in Scotland involve knives. That’s why we’re calling for mandatory sentences for people convicted of knife crimes.”
He also added that Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has “dithered” over a scheme to licence shops that sell non-domestic knives.
“He is alarmingly complacent – with so few criminals actually going to jail, it’s high time we sent the strongest possible message to those who think it is acceptable to leave the house with a lethal weapon.”
“The message that needs to be sent out is carry a knife and go to jail.”
The Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Bill Aitken said that the figures were “deeply depressing and extremely worrying”.
He said: “Unfortunately crime is not being punished meaning minor offenders become serious offenders and in certain cases, murderers.”
The Scottish Government spokesman said that it is taking a range of measures to deal with Scotland’s reputation for violence.
He said: “Knife crime is not a new problem in Scotland and too many Scots feel the need to carry a blade under the delusion that it offers them protection. But progress is being made.”
“In terms of sustained and coordinated police action, more than 2000 knives have been taken off the streets since May 2007.”
“And tougher prosecutions have seen more knife carriers in custody and tougher sentences. The most recent criminal proceedings stats show a 35% increase in the length of custodial sentences handed down for those convicted of carrying an offensive weapon.”
“Through enforcement and education, we can help Scotland lose its reputation for violence.”
People living in Norway, Iceland and Austria, – all of which are of similar size in population to Scotland – were three times less likely to be murdered than Scots.
Last year the UN stated that Scotland has the 6th fasting rising murder rate in the world, and another UN report put Glasgow in the same category of Johannesburg, Tbilisi and Bogata – the most violent cities in the world.