Guns replace knives as weapons of choice for Edinburgh's gangs

Guns are replacing knives as the "fashion accessory" weapon of choice among Edinburgh gangs, senior police officers have warned. Criminals involved in the city's drug trade are among those carrying firearms as status symbols, police said yesterday. The warning comes as it emerged that Lothian and Borders Police firearms officers are now authorised to draw their weapons on the streets an average three times a week.

New figures show that the force's armed response officers dealt with 21 incidents involving real firearms between April last year and March. The force recorded 331 firearm incidents during the period, with 161 involving authorisation for armed police to draw their weapons, working out at around three every week.

The figures, obtained under freedom of information laws, also reveal that 17 incidents where authorisation was given involved imitation weapons, and 55 of them air guns. The rest uncovered no weapons or failed to identify the person suspected of carrying the firearm.

Gun culture warning as firearms replace knives as latest must-have (The Scotsman, 13 June 2006)