Source: United Kingdom National Police Chiefs Council
Forces across the country united in action to tackle knife crime last week as part of Operation Sceptre, a period of intensified action to take weapons off the street, arrest habitual knife carriers, educate young people about the risks of carrying a knife and signpost them to the relevant support services.
Between 9 and 15 November officers arrested 2005 people, with over 500 of those arrests relating specifically to knife crime.
All 43 of the police forces in England and Wales and the British Transport Police (BTP) took part in Operation Sceptre.
Just under 10,000 knives were handed in through knife surrender schemes across the country. In addition to this police seized 723 knives as a result of other operational activity.
Tactics included patrolling at transport hubs, conducting weapons sweeps, deploying knife arches, utilising stop & search powers, working with retailers and also with UK Border Force colleagues to prevent illegal knives coming into the country.
Just as importantly a significant amount of engagement and prevention activity has taken place with the aim of steering young and vulnerable people away from knife crime. This is a crucial strand of our efforts to tackle knife crime and serious violence. Despite the challenges of the current Coronavirus restrictions, forces were able to host hundreds of engagement events, many of them virtually, in order to reach communities across the country.
Police partnered with Border Force to monitor attempts to import illegal knives and other offensive weapons into the country. During the course of the week we received over a thousand referrals relating to individuals attempting to import prohibited weapons. Work around these referrals will continue in the weeks ahead.
National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Knife Crime, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty, said:
“The harm caused to families and communities through the tragic loss of life relating to knife crime is devastating and that is why focusing on this issue remains a top priority for policing.
“Despite the challenges and the extra demand placed on the service as a result of the ongoing pandemic, the sheer number of arrests and seizures made across England and Wales as part of Operation Sceptre last week sends a clear message that we will not tolerate knife crime.
“I am extremely proud of all the officers and staff, who have not only taken part in the operation, but continue to work tirelessly tackling knife crime and bringing violent offenders to justice every single day. I would also like to praise community members who have volunteered their own time to work with us and assist our endeavours to protect the public.
“Nationally, we will continue to explore every opportunity to tackle knife crime, working with the public, private and charity sector to keep all our communities safe.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel said:
“The impressive results from Operation Sceptre show that forces are fully committed to taking action against the senseless violence perpetrated by those who carry weapons.
“I am determined to give the police the powers and resources they need, including 20,000 additional officers, to pursue criminals and take knives off our streets.”