(c) Police Scotland
According to the Guardian yesterday, in England and Wales, knife crime has increased by 21% to September 2017. This a dramatic figure large enough to suggest an emerging and extremely worrying trend.
In Scotland, knife crime increased in 2017 by 4.4% after years of falling dramatically. This is a small enough figure to be a statistical ‘blip’ and cannot be used to indicate a trend.
The contrast has already been made in the report of 35 murders of children and teenagers by knife in England and Wales 2017 and the fact that there no such deaths in Scotland in the same year.
‘Knife crime has killed 35 children and teenagers in England and Wales so far this year, meaning that 2017 is likely to be the worst year for such deaths in nearly a decade. Official figures exclusively obtained by the Guardian show that this year will be the worst since 2008 when 42 young people aged 19 and under lost their lives as a result of an attack with a knife.’
For more detail, see:
While there will be multiple and complex reasons behind this trend, policed numbers will be one factor. Again, from the Guardian:
‘Meanwhile, official figures show that the number of police officers in England and Wales has fallen by 930 in the past 12 months, to 121 929, the lowest level since comparable records began in 1996. Police officer numbers are now 22 424 below their peak in 2009, when there were 144 353 officers.’
In Scotland, contrary to some reporting, police numbers have increased. See this:
‘As at 30 June 2017, there were 17 249 full-time equivalent (FTE) police officers in Scotland. This is an increase of 1 015 police officers from the position at 31 March 2007 (+6.3 per cent). Police officer numbers have decreased by 7 FTE officers in the last quarter, since 31 March 2017, and increased by 7 FTE officers in the last year since 30 June 2016.’
So, what do these figures mean in terms of the ratio of police officers to members of the public? See this:
Population England and Wales in 56 million
Number of police officers in 2017 was 121 929
Population Scotland is 5.3 million
Number of police officers in 2017 was 17 249
Ratio of population to officers England and Wales: 459/1
Ratio of population to officers Scotland: 307/1
So, as with teachers, nurses, and GPs, Scotland has a much better ratio of police officers to members of the public and thus presumably presence on the streets enabling stop and search tactics to be effective.