This week we’re taking part in a national operation to tackle knife crime. Operation Sceptre, which is a twice-yearly operation, led and co-ordinated by the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) is an opportunity to highlight the work that goes on throughout the year to reduce the number of knives on the streets and help keep communities safer.
Throughout the week, officers will be carrying out a range of activities including:
- Delivering talks to young people in schools, youth clubs and groups to explain the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife
- Carrying out targeted searches of open areas, such as parks, where intelligence suggests weapons may be stored or hidden
- Hosting pop-up information stands to increase awareness and understanding in communities
- Carrying out hi-visibility patrols in areas of high demand, deterring those intent on crime or violence
We’re also calling for people to surrender any weapons through one of our 17 weapon surrender bins, which are attached to police stations, and in communities.
Since 2016, there have been over 4,000 knives and weapons surrendered through the existing bins.
Last month, two new knife surrender bins were installed in response to community requests in Bristol; one in Castle Park in the city centre, and the other outside The Park Centre in Knowle.
More bins are being planned and if you feel your community needs one, please get in touch. The full list is published here Protect yourself and others from knife crime | Avon and Somerset Police
Avon and Somerset Police’s lead for knife crime, Chief Inspector Mike Vass said:
“We know that knife crime is an issue that many people in our communities worry about. A recent survey by our Police and Crime Commissioner for example showed that 40 per cent of those questioned had concerns about knife crime in their local area. Operation Sceptre is an opportunity to highlight the work we are doing all year round to tackle knife crime and keep our communities safer.
“Although the reality is that the majority of the knife crime incidents we see are where people are known to each other. Unfortunately, a small number of people feel that carrying a knife is a way of keeping themselves safe. Sadly, this puts them at greater risk of harm, or causing harm to others and while we know that only one in 100 young people actually do carry a knife, we’re committed to educating all young people about the dangers of knives.
“Our work to tackle knife crime does rely on the support of our communities. We need you to please continue to share information about any concerns, or people carrying weapons in your local area.
“Any information from members of the public is used to build a picture of what’s happening which helps us to shape our response. We want to keep communities safer and reduce the number of knives on the streets and the number of families who have to experience the awful consequences of knife crime.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford said:
“This national knife crime awareness week is a wonderful opportunity to highlight some of the fantastic prevention and early intervention initiatives that are regularly being provided. The Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner and I will be out and about this week supporting various Operation Sceptre activities.
“My office recently facilitated a knife crime survey, which received an amazing 2,551 responses, with a staggering 47 per cent of participants aged under 18.
“The results will help shape police and partners future approach to knife crime prevention. I am delighted with the support from under 18s and support their top answer of helping young people get support and access to employment or education in support of preventing knife crime. There is a huge amount of fantastic work happening across our county to tackle knife crime and its causes. The Violence Reduction Units and partners are offering prevention advice, mentoring, sports-based activities, as well as programmes to keep young people in education. I must emphasise that in reality 99 per cent of young people do not carry knives.
“If you know someone who regularly carries a knife, please report what you know.”
You can contact the police with any concerns you have on 101 or 999, or online. Or you can anonymously report through CrimeStoppers Independent UK charity taking crime information anonymously | Crimestoppers (crimestoppers-uk.org) and the young person’s version Fearless at Give information about crime 100% anonymously | Fearless | Crimestoppers (crimestoppers-uk.org)
Operation Sceptre will also highlight the Home Office consultation on new knife legislation proposals to tackle the use of machetes and other bladed articles in crime. The consultation is the result of partnership working between the NPCC National Knife Crime Working Group and the Home Office with proposals developed to support policing in targeting knife crime at a number of stages from retailers to offenders.
The consultation is open to everyone and closes 6 June. Take part here: Machetes and other bladed articles: proposed legislation – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)