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Falls in Scottish homicide: Lessons for homicide reduction in mental health patients

  • John H. M. Crichton (a1)
Summary

The sustained fall in Scottish homicide rates follows crime reduction measures informed by the epidemiology of suicide. The violence reduction unit targeted young men carrying knives in public. The restriction of weapons immediately to hand appears to have caused an absolute fall in homicide just as suicide reduction was observed following changes to domestic gas supply. Further homicide reduction may be accomplished in the domestic setting with targeted changes in kitchen knife design in home safety planning for high-risk households. Most commonly homicides involving those in recent contact with mental health services in the UK have domestic characteristics and similar safety planning may be targeted at those with mental disorder and a history of violence.

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Copyright
This is an open-access article published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Correspondence to John H. M. Crichton (j.crichton@nhs.net)
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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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1 Scottish Government. Homicide in Scotland 2015-16. Scottish Government, 2016 (http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0050/00507263.pdf).
2 BBC News Scotland. Homicide rate hits 10-year high. BBC News 2005; 14 December (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4527570.stm).
3 Scottish Government. Action to reduce violence and knife crime. Available at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Justice/policies/reducing-crime/reducing-violence (accessed 6 April 2016).
4 Scottish Government. Recorded Crime in Scotland 2015-16, Table 6. Scottish Government, 2016. Available at http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/09/2960/downloads (accessed 11 October 16).
5 NHS National Services Scotland. Unintentional Injuries (Publication Report). Information Services Division Scotland, 2016 (http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Emergency-Care/Publications/2016-03-08/2016-03-08-UI-Report.pdf?).
6 Clarke, RV, Mayhew, P. The British gas suicide story and its criminological implications. Crime Justice 1988; 10: 79116.
7 Kreitman, N. The coal gas story. United Kingdom suicide rates, 1960-71. Br J Prevent Soc Med 1976; 30: 8693.
8 Appleby, L, Kapur, N, Shaw, J, Hunt, IM, Flynn, S, Ibrahim, S, et al. National Confidential Inquiry into Suicides and Homicides by People with Mental Illness. Making Mental Health Services Safer: Annual Report and 20-year Review. University of Manchester, 2016 (http://research.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/cmhs/research/centreforsuicideprevention/nci/reports/2016-report.pdf).
9 Crichton, JHM. A review of published independent inquiries in England into psychiatric patient homicide, 1995-2010. J Forensic Psychiatry Psychol 2011; 22: 761–89.
10 Hughes, NS, Macaulay, AM, Crichton, JHM. Kitchen knives and homicide by mentally disordered offenders: a systematic analysis of homicide inquiries in England 1994-2010. J Forensic Psychiatry Psychol 2012; 23: 559–70.
11 Hern, E, Glazebrook, W, Beckett, M. Reducing knife crime: we need to ban the sale of long pointed kitchen knives. BMJ 2005; 330: 1221–2.
12 Brown, J, Hughes, NS, McGlen, MC, Crichton, JHM. Misrepresentation of UK homicide characteristics in popular culture. J Forensic Legal Med 2014; 23: 62–4.
13 Kalucy, M, Rodway, C, Finn, J, Swinson, N, Roscoe, A, Da Cruz, D, et al. Comparison of British national newspaper coverage of homicide committed by perpetrators with and without mental illness. Aus NZ J Psychiatry 2011; 45: 539–48.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 2056-4694
  • EISSN: 2056-4708
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Falls in Scottish homicide: Lessons for homicide reduction in mental health patients

  • John H. M. Crichton (a1)
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