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Policy change Fine Gael's Neale Richmond says Scotland holds key to reducing knife crime

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Neale Richmond

Neale Richmond

Neale Richmond

SCOTLAND holds the key to tackling the rise of serious knife crime in Ireland says Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond. 

The Dublin/Rathdown TD has called on Minister for Justice Helen McEntee to look across the water to learn from their approach to tackling a worrying rise in knife crime.

Speaking in a Dáil debate on Community Policing and Crime, Deputy Richmond asked the Minister to look at introducing mentorships and education programmes in schools; as well as new youth services and youth training programmes.

These methods, he said, have helped tackle serious knife crime in Glasgow, and could seriously impact the worrying trend of similar instances in Ireland.

“Knife seizures are on the rise in Ireland, with the number of knives seized by Gardai increasing by a third since 2017.

“2019 saw the seizure of over 2,000 knives, and in the first six months of 2020 alone, over 1,2000 were seized, an increase of 13pc.

“There has also been a 10pc increase in hospitalisations from knife injuries such as stabbings.

“These are hugely worrying figures, especially given that one in six knives seized were taken from children aged between 12 and 17.

“Half of all seizures took place in Dublin, but this is far from an isolated issue.”

Deputy Richmond passionately believes that Ireland can learn lessons from some of the policies introduced by the Scottish Government when faced with a knife crime epidemic on the Glasgow streets.

“We must also look to other countries who have successfully taken on this issue and learn from them,” he said.

“Scotland launched a wide-reaching anti-violence campaign and a Violence Reduction Unit in 2005 when Glasgow was experiencing very high levels of crime, in fact it was the murder capital of Europe.

“They have successfully seen their homicides reduce by more than half through measures such as a knife amnesty, mentorships and education programmes in schools, youth services and youth training programmes.

“Indeed, Ireland is no stranger to weapons amnesty; in 2006 a two-month amnesty was introduced that saw hundreds of weapons surrendered, from shotguns to swords and pistols to knives.

“We can follow Scotland’s example by introducing a wide-reaching and all-encompassing response to these increasing knife crime statistics.”

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