Top Policeman Urges Knife Crackdown

Chief Superintendent David O'Connor wants Holyrood to look at new ways to tackle knife crime including mandatory jail terms.

Scotland's most senior frontline officer was speaking after a young father was killed in an alleged stabbing in Fife over the weekend.

Twenty-seven-year-old Barry McLean's body was found at an address in the Abbots View area of Burntisland on Saturday evening.

26 year old Sean Kitchener has been charged and has been remanded in custody over the death.

Chief Superintendent O'Connor said people who carried knives - and particularly repeat offenders - needed to be ``eradicated'' from society.

He said: "We have to stop knife crime in its tracks.

At times it is hard to see what other deterrent short of imprisonment can be taken in the short term. We need to act now and if prison is the answer then so be it. It would appear that warnings are no longer heeded by some.

Knife carriers need to be eradicated from communities and ASPS encourages the Scottish Government to re-visit this issue as a matter of great urgency.

Policing public and private places is a challenge but policing what goes on within certain people's heads takes it to a new level."

He also called for tougher new police powers to tackle violence at unruly house parties, saying alcohol abuse in private places with easy access to blades is "the new front line policing''.

Police should be able to eject or arrest people at house parties, be able to impose interim closure orders, and have the power to carry out searches.

He said a "shift in culture" meant there was a "significant" increase the potential for violence to break out with easy access to knives from kitchens.

And he said it was "less likely" that a stabbing victim would get medical help at a party.

He said: "Alcohol is a contributory factor in a high number of serious violent crimes including knife crimes.

There is a shift in culture towards unruly parties in houses and private properties where, the potential for drunken violence from blades available from kitchen areas increases significantly.

"Furthermore, where a stabbing occurs in these circumstances it is less likely that assistance may be rendered by passers-by or that medical help will be summoned by the culprits or indeed witnesses within."