A successful week of enforcement, prevention and engagement to tackle knife crime

A successful week of enforcement, prevention and engagement to tackle knife crime

Merseyside Police and partners’ intensified efforts to tackle knife crime has resulted in almost 250 knives and dangerous weapons removed from the streets, as part of a national week of action.

Operation Sceptre ran from Monday 13 November to Sunday 19 November, as part of a national effort to target those carrying weapons, prevent knife related offences, raise awareness of the dangers of knife crime, and provide young people with more positive alternatives to crime.

The week of action follows the release of the Office of National Statistics (ONS) annual report which shows Merseyside has seen a 22% decrease in knife crime in 2022-2023 compared to the previous year, the second highest reduction of any county nationally.

The force remains determined to further reduce knife crime and the devastating impact it has on individuals, families, and the wider community.

During the week of action, a knife surrender took place at 10 police stations across Merseyside. In total, 170 weapons were handed in by the public, which included swords, flick knives and other bladed articles banned under the Offensive Weapons Act.

A further 77 weapons were recovered during proactive stop searches, weapons sweeps and during the arrest of 35 people.

Merseyside Police is one of four forces currently trialling the introduction of Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVROs). Officers are proactively monitoring individuals with live orders and undertaking stop searches when they are in a public place. Working with the CPS, the force has secured 50 orders to date.

The week also saw officers take part in 64 community meetings and school events, which were described as “thought-provoking and informative”. The sessions discussed the dangers of carrying a knife, the consequences and how the police are tackling the issue.

One group of secondary school students even created knife crime prevention posters which included powerful messages including “no more violence” and “Less knifes, more lives”.

The twice-yearly operation involves all 43 police forces in England and Wales and British Transport Police and builds on the prevention and enforcement work police carry out all year round to combat knife crime.

Throughout the week, many of the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership (MVRP)’s initiatives were also running focused on preventing knife crime and educating young people.

This includes the Mentors in Violence Prevention programme which sees young people equipped with the language, behaviours and skills to tackle the issues that often underpin violence and enable them to safely intervene.

Several Knifesavers training events were also held at Aintree University Hospital focused on educating local community members on how to deal with a knife injury and stem blood loss, using special bleeding control kits. This included one ‘train the trainer’ session, giving people the skills to deliver the sessions to others across Merseyside equipping young people and the public with the skills if confronted by a life-threatening bleed. A further Knifesavers session focused on warning young people about the dangers of carrying or using knives and giving them the training to deal with an incident should it occur, is due to be held at Anfield today (Friday).

Superintendent Phil Mullally, lead for Serious Violence and Knife Crime said: “Weeks of action like this are important as they encourage conversations about knife crime within our communities.

“Operation Sceptre builds on our ongoing partnership work with schools, retailers and organisations, who all support our clear objectives as a force: to reduce and prevent knife crime and the harm it causes to communities.

“Providing a safe space to surrender knives and dangerous weapons has resulted in 170 weapons now off the streets of Merseyside which cannot fall into the wrong hands. Thank you to the public for playing their part by engaging with us, disposing of weapons and sharing information around where knives are being carried, used and stored.

“The reductions in serious violence and knife crime on Merseyside are testament to our strong enforcement of the law and partners’ collective efforts to educate, inform and tackle the root causes of violent crime. Our work doesn’t stop when the week of action ends – so please come forward with any information about knife crime in your area so we can continue to disrupt and deter knife crime.”

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “In the past year, we’ve seen a significant and hugely welcome decrease in knife crime and serious violence offences.

“This is down to the hard work and commitment of Merseyside Police, our Violence Reduction Partnership and a wide range of partners, who are determined to prevent and reduce the use of knives and their potentially devastating consequences.

“Even one knife incident is too many and that’s why tackling the use of knives is a priority all year round. Weeks of action, like Operation Sceptre, are pivotal to this work as they provide a platform for us to educate and work with the public, getting potentially dangerous weapons off the streets and engaging with young people about the consequences of picking up a weapon.

“We know that enforcement alone will not tackle the root causes of why people find themselves involved in violent crime and that’s why we’re focused on acting early and working with young people to steer them away from crime and towards a brighter future.”

If you have information about someone carrying a knife, or know someone involved in crime, you can report any concerns on 999 if a crime is in progress, via 101, or our social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC.

You can also pass information via Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org

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