Jul 1 2010 By Ben Spencer
Blade attacks taking up 2000 hospital bed days
KNIFE attacks in the Glasgow area took up more than 2000 hospital bed days in the space of just a year, shocking figures have shown.
In 2008-09, assaults with a sharp object resulted in a total of 2193 occupied bed days in hospitals in Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
The Glasgow area was the worst for knife crime and made up more than two thirds of the 3610 occupied bed days across Scotland that year.
The next worst area behind Glasgow was Lanarkshire, with just 413 occupied bed days resulting from assaults with a sharp object.
Labour obtained the worrying figures in a Parliamentary answer.
The party said the figures backed the need for their proposals for mandatory six-month jail sentences for carrying a knife, which will come before MSPs next week.
But the Government said no evidence exists that the "one size fits all" approach will work and it is not supported by police chiefs.
Labour justice spokesman Richard Baker earlier this week urged MSPs to "stand up and be counted" when the CriminalJusticeandLicensingBillcomes before Parliament on Wednesday.
Baker said: "Ordinary, hard-working Scots are sick of the excuses and want action from MSPs on this key issue.
"Labour's tough plans on tackling knife crime are in the Bill as it stands and can only be removed if MSPs make the active decision to remove them. It is a choice that they will have to make but Labour will stand up for victims of knife crime."
The party also pointed to Government research which states that violence, including knife crime, costs Scotland £3billion every year.
The proposals for mandatory sentences are in the Bill because a Labour amendment was voted through by Holyrood's justice committee.
But justice secretary Kenny MacAskill has lodged amendments before the Bill is considered by Parliament, which would see Labour's proposal ditched.
A Government spokesman said: "The Justice Secretary has made clear that those who use a knife should expect to go to prison, and jail terms for knife-carrying have increased by two thirds in the last two years.
"Mandatory sentences for knife carrying are not supported by the nation's leading police officers."