Thames Valley Police (TVP) have delivered a number of initiatives in support of Operation Sceptre, the national campaign to reduce knife crime.
According to figures from TVP, knife crime increased by 32% and possession offences rose by 27%. These statistics reflect offences recorded between 1 April to 31 March 2017, compared to the same period in the previous year.
To prevent unwanted knives from finding their way onto the streets, special knife surrender bins were placed into sixteen police stations across Thames Valley. In total 47 knives were handed in during the week long campaign which ran from 17 July. Items ranged from bread and Stanley knives through to carving and ornamental knives. A bayonet with scabbard, believed to date back to the First World War, was also surrendered.
With teenagers being more likely to carry a knife for protection, Thames Valley Police have been visiting schools and colleges to raise awareness of the dangers of carrying a blade.
Chief Inspector Helen Roberts, the officer responsible for coordinating Operation Sceptre at Thames Valley Police, said: “You are four times more likely to be a victim of knife crime if you carry a knife. People feel a sense of being invincible when they carry a knife, which is not the case, and they make risky decisions as a result putting themselves in dangerous situations."
A number of other proactive activities were undertaken to tackle knife crime as part of Operation Sceptre. Working with licensees, knife arches were put in place in pubs and clubs as a condition of entry into the premises. Some education establishments also installed temporary knife arches to identify the number of young people carrying weapons onto the site.
Working in partnership with Trading Standards, officers conducted a number of test purchase operations. Police Cadets, all under the age of 18, attempted to buy a knife from a range of retailers. During one of the operations, in Windsor and Maidenhead, only one of the four retailers tested sold a knife to the underage Cadets. The retailer was provided with advice from Thames Valley Police and is being investigated by Trading Standards.
Chief Inspector Roberts went onto say: “We are working hard to continue delivering a number of proactive and reactive activities to reduce knife crime in Thames Valley.
“I ask that members of the public who want to dispose of any unwanted knives, do so correctly. All metal knives can be taken to your local waste disposal site where there will be a skip for scrap metal.
“If you need to report a knife related crime to the Police, please call 101 or dial 999 in an emergency if there is an immediate danger to life.”