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Drop in number of homicides in Scotland

Figures have revealed that the number of homicides in Scotland dropped last year. However, the statistics also show that the number of deaths caused by stabbings has gone up.

New figures have revealed that the number of homicides in Scotland dropped last year.

However, the statistics also show that the number of deaths caused by stabbings has gone up.

The figures from Scotland's chief statistician release on Tuesday show how many homicides - which combines murder and culpable homicide - were recorded by Scottish police forces in 2007-2008.

They showed that there were 114 victims of homicide recorded, compared with 119 in 2006-2007.

Almost half of the killings were carried out with a sharp instrument such as a knife - 55 cases (48%), up slightly from 54 (45%) last year.

The homicide rate for males - 36 victims per million population - was four times the rate for females at nine victims per million population.

Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill welcomed the slight drop but vowed to tackle "knife culture".

He said the most recent recorded crime figures published in September also show recorded crime at its lowest for 25 years.

He said: "We are not complacent and the latest homicide stats serve as a stark reminder that there are still far too many people using knives and that many are doing so while under the influence of drink or drugs,"

"This deadly cocktail can so often lead to tragic consequences and that is why this government is determined to tackle the country's knife culture.

"We welcome the slight reduction in deaths. However, one death is one too many.

"That is why we need to continue to challenge and change the bevvy and blades culture."

The figures also show that 45% of the 148 accused in homicide cases were reported to have been drunk or on other drugs at the time of the incident and of the 111 victims where an accused has been identified, 80% were killed by someone known to them.

More than half (58%) of the homicides took place in the Strathclyde Police area, although the actual number, 66, was 10 fewer than the previous year.

The number of homicides in Glasgow was 30 compared with 11 in Edinburgh.

Ministers last week announced £1.6 million for the Community Initiative To Reduce Violence, which brings together police, local authority, education and health professionals to try to reduce violence among gangs in the east end of Glasgow.  

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