Carrying of Weapons (Children)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 5th October 2017.

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The First Minister:

A range of discussions take place between the Scottish Government and councils. I am happy to give Ruth Davidson a full update in writing about the current circumstances in respect of guidance.

Ruth Davidson is right to talk about the report, and the action that was taken after it, following the tragic death of Bailey Gwynne. Since the independent review into that tragic death, we have been focused on implementing the two specific recommendations that were directed to the Scottish Government. Members will recall that one recommendation centred on improving the resilience of schools to the threat that is posed by weapons and giving consideration to amending the law on searching pupils, and the second recommendation was about further legislative controls that can be brought to bear on the purchase of weapons online.

Ministers have considered the issue of violence and knife crime in schools very carefully and have taken advice from a wide range of stakeholders. Those stakeholders do not support the introduction of a new search power for teachers—indeed, that was rejected and opposed by the teaching profession.

Of course, those recommendations were directed to the Scottish Government. Ruth Davidson also rightly asked about the recommendations for councils. It is important that councils have the right processes in place and that all schools have the right policies in place. Through our officials in the education department of the Scottish Government, we will continue to act to make sure that that is the case.