(What, Denis Canavan’s maths pupils did much better than mine?)
In the Northern Echo and the Evening Times, yesterday:
‘Under us, crime is at its lowest level’: SNP hails ‘staggering’ drop in youth conviction rate in Scotland. The number of young people convicted of a crime has fallen by 70% in the past decade in Scotland, new figures show. Analysis of crime stats show convictions in the under 21 age group dropped from 27,832 in 2007 to 8,814 in 2017. Amongst males, the number of convictions has fallen from 24,526 to 7,596.’
Now, Jack McConnell quit in August 2007 and since then youth crime has been falling fast. Jack was a maths teacher, in Alloa, before politics. Maybe it doesn’t add up, but could he have driven enough young people to crime with his brutal unforgiving assessments? Mind you, the removal of lead from petrol, not just in Alloa, has been connected with falling crime, globally. I suppose if Jack and Labour had stayed on (brrr) they’d be claiming at least some credit for this so it’s only fair that the SNP claim it now.
Though missing the wider story, the Daily Record has been prepared to note related success in South Lanarkshire. In can find no mention in BBC, STV, Scotsman or Herald. See this:
‘Despite the recent spate of knife crime, weapons offences in South Lanarkshire have decreased by more than 70 per cent in the past decade. In 2007/08, there were 17 cases of handling offensive weapons per 10,000 of the population in South Lanarkshire – which has fallen sharply to just five by 2016/17, a drop of 71 per cent.’
Wait a minute, what ‘recent spate’? There hasn’t been a ‘spate’ of knife crime in Scotland for at least ten years. I think they mean ‘in London.’ See this, in the Guardian, from December 2017:
‘How Scotland reduced knife deaths among young people. 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. In 2005, Strathclyde police set up a violence reduction unit (VRU) in an effort to address a problem that had made Glasgow, in particular, notorious.’
Footnote: I know there is more crime than that convicted but a fall of this scale is unlikely to be due entirely to changes in policy.
Footnote 2: Years ago, I did research into the political awareness of 10-14 year-olds and found that few of them knew of Jack McConnell. Indeed, one who thought he did, wrote ‘Jack McGoogle!’