Leader comment: Knife threat needs tackled

Measures to restrict the ease of purchasing dangerous knives are overdue.
Measures to restrict the ease of purchasing dangerous knives are overdue.
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Last week the UK government pledged to act following acid attacks in London. Understandably, ministers are looking at practical ways to restrict the sale of the substance.

However, compared with the handful of acid attacks in Scotland, knife crime is a far bigger problem.

In the first half of 2016 there were 1,720 incidents in Scotland where people were caught with offensive weapons, including knives – an increase of 10 per cent.

The tragic case of Bailey Gwynne – stabbed to death by another pupil who bought a knife on Amazon – demonstrated just how easy it is to buy a knife online and to circumvent age checks.

It is welcome, therefore, that the Scottish Government is in talks with UK ministers on plans to force buyers to collect knives from a nearby shop, where they would be asked for ID. Knives, of course, are widely available in homes. And this measure alone will not end the problem.

But it is clear that many young people are exploiting the current loophole to buy not only deadly knives, but machetes and knuckledusters. These tougher restrictions are long overdue.