‘Treating knife crime as a health issue has led to a dramatic drop in stabbings: of the 35 deaths of young people in Britain this year, none were in Scotland.’
As violent crime spirals out of control in London and other English cities against a background of falling police staffing and as it falls in Scotland, against the background of stabilised police numbers, BBC News and BBC Scotland News work to counter the good news that Scotland is different.
On the 7th April, BBC TV news, in the morning, paired the London stabbings with ‘meanwhile in Scotland the number of exclusions from school for assaults using ‘weapons’ is the highest it’s been for five years.’
You can see the point of this easily – ‘Things are just as bad in Scotland too.’ Note the word ‘weapons’. I’ll come back to that. However, what’s most important to remember is that there have been NO deaths of ‘young people’ in Scotland, in this period.
BBC Scotland joined in yesterday with this:
‘Scottish school exclusions over weapon attacks at five-year high. The number of Scottish school exclusions or physical assaults involving weapons or improvised weapons has risen to a five-year high. Figures for 2016/17 showed there were 311 instances of a pupil being excluded for using a weapon to assault another pupil or member of staff. The total of 739 is up on the 661 incidents recorded in 2014/15, and 710 in 2012/13.’
Note, first, that these are two-year figures so there were around 160 cases in 2016/17 across a school population of around 700 000. That’s 1 in every 4 000 plus with no cases of death. Note, also that this refers to ‘school exclusions or physical assaults’ and thus includes cases of the threat of knife use and not only cases where a knife was actually used. Finally, these figures include threats or actual assaults ‘involving weapons or improvised weapons’ so we do not know how many involved seriously dangerous knives. Put together, these reservations leave us wondering just how many actual attempted stabbings by an actual knife are included in these figures. Consequently, the attempt to equate them by association with the crisis in England is both ridiculous and propaganda in its most devious and its most unethical form.
The BBC Scotland report, denied actual stabbings and deaths to shame and frighten Scottish society with, resorted to an extended piece giving some Scottish Tory the chance to tell us ‘parents will be horrified’ before padding the piece out with a retread of the one tragic Aberdeenshire death in 2016.