Hampshire Police has carried out policing activities in support of Op Sceptre, the national week of action to challenge and reduce knife crime.
During the week of action, which ran from Monday 16th to Sunday 22nd May, officers reminded the public that there were thirteen amnesty bins available at police stations across the county to prevent unwanted knives from finding their way into the streets. In total 247 knives and bladed articles were handed in.
A number of other proactive operations were undertaken to tackle knife crime and 12 knife related arrests were made. This included 24 different inputs into schools by officers to educate and inform students about the dangers of carrying weapons and the fatal consequences associated with carrying a knife.
In addition to the educational slate, 68 stop and searches all related to knife crime were conducted, resulting in 3 knives being recovered and 9 arrests.
25 test purchase operations were carried out in stores across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to spot check age compliance with the sale of knives. Overall, there were 98% pass rate, with one fail being reported for summons on a second failed test purchase in Fleet.
Chief Inspector John Halfacre, tactical lead for knife crime said: “Operation Sceptre is part of our ongoing proactive work to reduce knife crime across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. This work demonstrates our continued efforts to deliver a number of activities to reduce the threat of knife crime protect our local communities and raise awareness of the dangers involved.
“Part of our work on this operation has involved am increased police presence in our communities, with officers engaging with the public and disrupting crime throughout the week of action. Because of this a total of 12 arrests were made during our work on Op Sceptre.
“With every operation, we seek to raise awareness of the dangers of carrying knives. While the police continue to take action to tackle those who carry weapons, we all have a duty and role to help keep each other safe. If you have concerns that someone is vulnerable and maybe drawn into crime or carrying a knife, speak to someone – the police, school, any trusted adult / professional – let’s get them the help they need and prevent future tragedies. In addition, if you have any information about someone carrying a knife or using weapons involved in violence, report it to police or anonymously to Crimestoppers.”
Donna Jones, Police & Crime Commissioner for Hampshire & Isle of Wight said: “The number of knives handed in to Hampshire and Isle of Wight police over the last week is encouraging. Fewer knives on our streets means less chance of people being seriously injured or killed.
“The number of young people carrying knives across the UK over the last five years has increased and that is why tackling the culture of knife carrying, especially in young people, is one of the top priorities in my police and crime plan, More Police, Safer Streets.
“We are fortunate to have a Home Office funded Violence Reduction Unit in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, which focuses on habitual knife carriers - preventing them from offending or re-offending and diverting them away from drugs and criminal gangs.”