In advance of a major United Kingdom-wide conference tomorrow on the serious problem of knife violence, and given the fact that a five-year study in Edinburgh found that, of the sharp instruments that are used in homicides, 94 per cent are kitchen knives, does the First Minister agree that Scotland can be at the forefront of the campaign to replace sharp, pointed knives—which have been proven to have significant penetrative capabilities—with round-ended ones?
Yes, there is the potential for Scotland to be at the forefront of such initiatives. Maureen Watt is right to raise this very important issue. Tackling all forms of violence, including knife violence, is a priority for the Government and indeed for any Government. Our approach to knife crime in particular is focused firmly on prevention and early intervention.
Over the past decade, police-recorded crimes of handling an offensive weapon have fallen and emergency admissions to hospitals have also fallen. We recognise the devastating consequences that violence has on individuals, families and communities, so we know that much more needs to be done.
That is why we continue to invest in the no knives, better lives programme, the Scottish violence reduction unit and Medics Against Violence. As I said at the outset, we are open to exploring any evidence that shows that anti-stab knives are an effective approach to tackling violent crime.