Cheshire Police stepped up their ongoing efforts to take knives off the streets last week as part of Operation Sceptre – a national campaign devised to reduce the impact of knife crime in communities throughout England and Wales.
During this latest week of action, which started on Monday 16 May, officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) in Cheshire were determined to identify and pursue suspected knife crime offenders, take dangerous weapons off the streets and educate people about the risks of carrying bladed weapons.
Through a robust programme of activities, their actions resulted in:
- Arrested a total of 26 people
- Seized 26 knives
- Collected another 721 weapons via 56 surrender bins situated across Cheshire
- Conducted 56 weapons sweeps recovering five knives
- Stopped and searched 194 people
- Issued ten warrants in relation to knife crime
- Communicated with 72 schools regarding important knife crime messages for pupils, including input from a trauma surgeon and live performances by Perception Theatre of CUT – a production that tackles knife crime and youth violence
- Searched ten properties resulting in three knife-related arrests
- Visited 61 retailers that sell knives to give product placement advice and ensure that age-restricted sales policies are being followed (it is illegal to sell a knife to anyone under the age of 18)
- Utilised a knife arch and pop-up police station in a busy shopping centre for people with any concerns to speak in confidence with officers.
Additionally, officers and PCSOs visited licenced premises in Cheshire’s nightlife hotspots to display Operation Sceptre flyers in busy areas of pubs and bars. Security Industry Authority (SIA) licenced staff were also given knife wands to further enhance security.
Superintendent Sarah Heath, the knife crime lead for Cheshire Constabulary said: “Nationally, knife crime is a growing problem and the week-long Operation Sceptre campaign is an initiative that the force is always keen to support.
“However, knife crime is an issue that the force tackles throughout the year, not just during weeks of action, with officers working day and night to protect our communities.
“At Cheshire Constabulary we have an ongoing structured prepare, protect, pursue and prevent approach to tackling knife crime that involves various partner agencies, including local authorities, education providers, health authorities, third sector organisations, youth representatives and community groups.
“We work together to achieve long-term change by educating young people about the dangers and futility of carrying weapons.
“We are proud of the fact that Cheshire has one of the lowest rates of knife crime in the country, but we are aware that there has been a 13% increase in knife crime related incidents in Cheshire over the past twelve months.
“When people carry knives, it is only a matter of time before someone suffers life-changing injuries or is killed, and if you carry a knife then you are much more likely to be involved in a knife crime.
“As all the statistics show, carrying a knife doesn’t make you safer.
“We make sure they know that carrying a knife, even if they have no intention of using it, is a crime and can increase the likelihood of suffering an injury and having a criminal record – anyone found carrying a knife in public, without a reasonable excuse, faces a prison sentence.
“We also steer them away from criminality and offer them attractive alternative ways to spend their time.
“Our goal is to achieve weapons-free streets throughout the county and we endeavour – through education, awareness and action – to make Cheshire an area where no-one carries a knife, or feels that there is a reason to do so.
“However, the police cannot achieve this goal on our own. Knife crime is a societal problem that cannot be solved without the support of society as a whole.
“If you have any information regarding knife crimes, or those who carry weapons, please let us know.
“If you know someone who carries a knife, reporting it to the police could be enough to save a life.”
To report any type of crime involving weapons, call Cheshire Constabulary on 101, or 999 in an emergency.
Information can also be passed to the force online via the Report section of our website.
Anyone who knows someone that carries a knife can report it to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via the Crimestoppers website.