‘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.
My! Aren’t the UK establishment getting anxious when they have to resort to these pathetic and underhand tactics in their feeble attempts to score points? I think they are becoming intensely fearful of the consequences of Scotland’s undoubted successes, and are now fearing the worst. Come on Scotland! Let’s dump them forever! Looking Good for us! Saor Alba!
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Aye, the disgusting propaganda war of attrition goes on.
John, your persistence and resilience in exposing this wicked nonsense can only be admired.
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Thanks. Walking a Border Terrier pup might be giving me more bite?
Congratulations on owning one of the best wee dogs in the world – or at least in the Borders. We have one too, recently turned 10. Greedy little beasts though, but lots of fun.
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As above. Another excellent deconstruction of a “weaponised” (sorry couldn’t resist it) BBC fake news re-hash and without any contextualisation so we might better understand what’s going on. My wife (an ex-HT) was horrified when she heard this crap.
How do we hold these propagandists to account?
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Keep on keeping on? Weaponised? Damn, I meant to misuse that.
Channel 4 News last week had a backdrop with ViOLENT BRITAIN in block capitals, and simulated knife slashes through it on Friday evening when they reported the latest figures of young people killed in London.
I wrote to protest that this was highly misleading as these crimes were not taking place across the UK. No response yet.
They’ll take some time
Let us know how it goes
Having been a senior member of staff in various schools in the west of Scotland for almost 30 years, the number of incidents I investigated where young people were found to be in possession of a ‘sharp’ weapon was very small – probably between 10 and 15 during that period.
In almost all cases we were made aware that someone was suspected of being in possession of a weapon, by other pupils telling teachers or other staff. In almost all of these cases, the person voluntarily surrendered the weapon on being asked. On only two occasions, to the best of my recollection, did we have to summon the police who conducted a body search, with the consent of the young person or his parent.
On one occasion, a student who had been on a fishing trip with his father over the weekend and who was ,dropped off at school by his father on the Monday morning coming directly from where they had been camping, realised he still had his angler’s knife and brought it to the school office to hand in. When we contacted the police as we were bound to do, they said, “Phone his father and tell him to come back for the knife.”
On the only occasion when a knife was drawn with possible intent to use, it was by a former pupil who had entered the school grounds to confront a current pupil. The knife was not present in the initial confrontation but was drawn after the bearer had come off worst in the altercation. by that time, teachers had arrived on the scene and the would-be assailant fled and was subsequently apprehended by the police.
Apart from the angler, these were all matters treated with the utmost seriousness. I suspect that only in the final incident I described was there a possible intent.
We must keep a sense of proportion in these matters.
Incidentally, I was in London over last weekend and there were reports that 7 people were stabbed in the course one of the weekend evenings. Certainly, this is shocking, but I did not sense any panic on the streets of London, nor did I feel inhibited about going anywhere in the city.
I saw the BBC report and I think that it has yet again derived from and FoI request by a political party and reported pretty much as in the party’s press release.
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I had to leave off the last post because the sharer of my existence had decided that because it was so cold, wet and windy, I should go for the day’s shopping. Being feart, I complied.
I had been intending to add something else to put this grossly inflammatory piece by the BBC into perspective.
Consider any secondary school in Scotland – public sector or private. It has a Home Economics Department, a technical Studies Department, an Art Department, Biology, Chemistry and Physics Departments and a PE Department.
In the Home Economics Department on any day, children will be using sharp knives, some with long blades to cut food in preparation for cooing, some will be using large sharp scissors, sewing needles or knitting needles if they are doing fabric work.
In the Technical Department there are chisels, saws, hammers, ‘Stanley’ knives, wooden battens, lumps of metal.
In Biology there are scalpels and gardening tools such as forks, shears, shovels. In Chemistry there are acids and alkalis as well as easily broken glassware, in physics there are a number of handy-sized, but fairly massive objects.
In Art there are lino cutters and scissors.
In PE there are baseball bats, hockey sticks, cricket bats, table tennis bats.
Sharp pencils and the ends of paint brushes are capable of serious injury if jabbed in someone’s face.
Hundreds of thousands of young people each week for long periods have fairly easy access to all of these items, any one of which could inflict a serious injury.
Almost all of those who carry weapons including knives to schools are mainly doing it for bravado or for a misguided sense of protection. Very few have any intention of using them. Of course, once is too much and can lead to a serious and, on rare occasions a fatal injury. Yet day after day, week after week, year after year huge numbers of young people are using, safely, similar items. All of the items I listed above have been used on a few occasions in some schools in Scotland, by some young people, usually in a flash of anger or in a misguided bit of horseplay.
Can we expect a political party soon to be demanding that all of these items be removed from schools or replaced by non-dangerous alternatives like non corrosive acids or foam rubber chisels?