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Just 1 criminal given maximum sentence for carrying knife despite SNP pledge

Just one person convicted of carrying a knife has been given the maximum five-year sentence, despite nearly 1000 convictions and an SNP pledge to get tough on the offence.

According to new research by the Scottish Conservatives, just one of 917 convictions has resulted in the maximum punishment since the new sentence was introduced in 2016.

The figure was published in a parliamentary answer to Scottish Conservative MSP John Scott.

The SNP introduced the maximum sentence of five years for knife crime in 2016 saying that it demonstrated the commitment of the SNP to tackling the increase in knife crime on Scotland’s streets.

The Scottish Conservatives have said that this represents the SNP’s tough talk on knife crime is nothing more than “hot air”

Liam Kerr, Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary said:


“The maximum sentence for carrying a knife was increased to five years to tackle the increasing issue of knife crime.

“If these figures are anything to go by, this tactic has wholly failed.

“For only one criminal to have received the maximum sentence shows just how toothless the sentence guideline is.

“The SNP talks a good game on knife crime but it is clearly nothing more than hot air.”


Notes to editors:


26 November 2018, question S5W-19902

John Scott (Ayr) (Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party): To ask the Scottish Government how many people have been given the maximum custodial sentence of five years for carrying a knife in each of the last five years.

Humza Yousaf: The available information is provided in the following tables by financial year, which have been produced from the Scottish Government’s criminal proceedings database. The Criminal Proceedings in Scotland 2017-18 will be published in late January 2019.

Number of people given the custodial sentence of five years (1826 days) for having in a public place an article with a blade or a point¹, 2015-16 to 2016-17.




Having in a public place an article with a blade or point



1 - where main crime

Source: Criminal Proceedings database

Please note: The maximum penalty increased to 5 years in February 2016.

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