VIOLENT SCOTLAND: WILD WEST; Glasgow is now the murder capital of Britain.
GLASGOW is the murder capital of Britain - with a staggering 55 slayings per million people.
The city's murder rate is more than DOUBLE that of London, which had 26 murders per million.
Latest crime figures show that 127 people were murdered in Scotland in 2002 - the highest figure since 1995.
Of the victims, 68 were stabbed to death - the highest rate for a decade according to homicide statistics published by the Scottish Executive.
And in the "Wild West", the country's largest region, Strathclyde, was again the most violent with 81 murders.
West Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde and Stirling all had 37 murders per million people.
Experts revealed that most murderers were high on booze and drugs.
And they say a frightening 80 per cent of victims knew their killers.
The 2002 murder toll was 11 higher than 2001 - and the largest total for seven years.
Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson said: "This was the highest annual total for fatal stabbings in the last ten years.
"Too many of these cases result when either the accused or the victim is drunk.
"Most occur at the weekend and involve young men.
"It doesn't take a huge leap of the imagination to connect many of these tragic incidents with binge-drinking and serious street disorder.
"This kind of behaviour - and its shocking consequences - can no longer be tolerated in a modern Scotland."
But raging opposition political bosses attacked the Labour administration for failing the Scottish people.
SNP leader John Swinney claimed that the murder rate had soared 37 per cent since Labour came to power in 1997, while murder convictions plummeted.
He said: "These figures are horrifying.
"Not only are more homicides being committed, but the conviction rate has dropped by almost 15 per cent and the number of cases without a conviction has doubled.
"Scotland as a whole has one of the highest homicide rates in the EU, and Glasgow has a rate double that of London and higher even than Belfast."
In marked contrast to the "Wild West", the east of Scotland continues to be the safest place to live.
The region with the lowest murder rate was Midlothian with only four murders per million.
While the Borders and the Western Isles also had only seven killings per million people. The safest Scottish city was Aberdeen, which had the lowest murder in the country of 17 victims per million people.
Ms Jamieson added that police chiefs, the Crown Office and licensing bosses were now working together to tackle the links between drunkenness and knife attacks.
She added: "Reforms to Scotland's drinking laws currently being considered will help reduce this potentially fatal connection."
The shameful report also reveals the murder rate for men is over FIVE times that of women, with 44 victims per million compared to eight per million for women.
And younger Scots men are more likely to be killed than older ones.
The highest murder rate occurred in the 21 to 29 age group with a staggering 94 victims per million people.
For women, the highest murder rate falls in the 16 to 20 age group with 26 killings per million.
Police found a murder suspect in all but two of the 2002 killings - and 71 people were convicted, 40 for murder and 31 for culpable homicide.
While 62 per cent of the murders took place in a home, 25 per cent of attacks occurred in the street.
But murders make up only a fraction of all recorded violent crime, equal to just 0.2 per cent over the last ten years.
Scotland's murder rate of 22 per million is higher than England and Wales at 16, but lower than Northern Ireland's 27 according to figures covering 1999-2001.
Voice of the Mirror: Page 8
VICTIM: Gerald Barnes was beaten to death
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Nov 27, 2003|
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