I’ve taken a bit of time out from my revision to write about the City of Glasgow. The city I was born in and the city that I spent most of my life to date living in and around. It’s where I’d meet my mates for a day out in the town and so on.
The City of Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and the third most populated in the UK. The city is situated on the River Clyde – it is the along the river that the city’s regeneration is taking place.
There is one major shame to Glasgow and that is its record of violence and homicide (and it’s no new thing either). For decades Glasgow has had a reputation built around violence and gangs. It’s widely recognised as the Murder capital of Western Europe and frequently has a higher murder rate per capita than Belfast and London.
Knives are the weapon of choice in Glasgow. Large numbers of teenage and young adult males carry them, and are willing to use them. Guns have never really been a major issue in Glasgow, unlike other areas of the UK – although some suggest that guns will be a natural progression for a city as violent as Glasgow.
I grew up and went to school in decent parts just on the outskirts of Glasgow, where violent crime was a bit less of a problem than in areas such as Govan, Pollock and Springburn. However, people I know still suffered violent attacks.
Over half the murders in the city involve knives. In an active operation run by Strathclyde Police a few years ago one in ten people they stopped and searched were carrying a weapon of some sort.
The range of weapons is huge, from small knives to kitchen knives to swords and machetes. The latter are a lot more common than you think. Medical professionals in Glasgow in a documentary a couple of years ago suggested that they saw at least one person a week with injuries sustained from a machete.
In 2005 ago the former Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police, Sir Willie Rae, set up the Violence Reduction Unit. This unit was set up to work on long- term solutions for tackling violent crime in Scotland.
Each year in Scotland more than 100 people lose their lives in violent incidents, a majority of which happens in and around Glasgow. It doesn’t sound a lot, but when you consider fewer people live in the whole of Scotland than in London you start to get an idea of the scale of the problem.
This entry comes after another weekend of horrific violence in and around the city. Some of the stories hitting the headlines from the weekend include the story of the two children found murdered in a car in Lennoxtown and a murder in the Towhead area.
There have also been some high profile incidents in the last few years including that of teenager Kris Donald who was brutally stabbed, set alight and left to die.
The new Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police, Stephen House, and the Justice Secretary, Kenny McAskill MSP, recently launched a bid to rid Glasgow of its reputation within ten years – something the head of the Violence Reduction unit has said in the past will take generations.
A Glasgow A+E Consultant said in a documentary that violence is ingrained into many of these families and he would be right. Violence is just part and parcel of daily life in many areas of Glasgow.
There is so much to say on this topic that I shall leave it here for just now. I have no doubt that this will be a topic that I shall return to in the future!