While knife crime remains relatively low in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in comparison to other parts of the country, we will not be complacent. We are continously focusing our efforts and are committed to do everything within our legal power to tackle serious violence, working closely with our partner agencies and other organisations to ensure our local communities are safer.
It is an offence to:
Possess a knife in a public place without good reason - unless it's a knife with a folding blade three inches long (7.62cm) or less, e.g., a Swiss Army knife
Possess a knife while on school, college, or further education premises
Use any knife in a threatening way
Hold or carry a knife for use by someone else
Buy or sell any type of prohibited knives
Sell a knife to anyone under the age of 18
The updated 2019 Offensive Weapons Act makes it illegal to possess dangerous weapons in private, including knuckledusters, zombie knives, telescopic truncheons, and death star knives.
There are permanent knife surrender bins in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, where you can dispose of banned offensive weapons as part of our commitment to keeping our streets safer.
Op Sceptre is a national campaign which has 'weeks of action' aimed at highlighting and supporting the work our officers and staff carry out all year round to ensure residents are safe from knife crime in their community.
Our approach is to prevent and reduce serious violent crime, by disrupting the supply of knives in to the UK, by raising awareness of the dangers of knife crime, and providing young people with positive alternatives to crime.
As part of the operation, officers regularly undertake a range of activity including targeted operations, weapon sweeps, visits to habitual knife carriers, and education sessions in schools to explain the dangers and consequences that come from carrying a knife.
Our commitment to tackling knife crime remains a priority, and we continue to take a community-led approach, working alongside partners in the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Violence Reduction Unit to identify those involved, address the root causes, educate our communities, provide preventative advice and ensure those carrying and using weapons are brought to justice.
We consistently undertake a range of activities including targeted operations, engagement and education to reassure young people they are safer not carrying knives, and to walk or run away from harm.
The VRU is a Hampshire and Isle of Wight based partnership that brings together specialists from local government, public health, education, policing, and criminal justice to work with communities and the third sector to reduce serious violence by understanding and tackling its underlying causes.
The partnership believe that intervening early to prevent issues emerging is the best way to ensure children, young people, families and communities in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight thrive.
Fearless is a site where you can access non-judgemental information and advice about crime and criminality for young people. What makes this site different is it also provides you with a safe place to give information about crime - 100% anonymously. Fearless is completely independent from the police.
Carrying a knife or any weapon is never a good idea. Some people carry a knife because they think 'everyone else is' but that’s not the case - 99% of young people in the UK don’t carry a knife.
Some young people think if you carry a knife then it will provide protection. But statistics show that if you carry a knife or weapon then you are more likely to end up being hurt. You can be seen as threatening. You might also end up being hurt by your own weapon. It is also illegal to carry knives and other weapons.
You might think you'll be respected or even feared for carrying a weapon. But all it really does is put you, your friends and family in danger.
If you have been a victim or witness of crime and you live in Hampshire or the Isle of Wight, the independent charity Victim Care is here to help, whenever you are ready.
The Ben Kinsella Trust
The Ben Kinsella Trust is an independent organisation that aims to tackle knife crime through educating young people by hosting workshops and working in collaboration with partner agencies and parents.
The Prince's Trust
The Prince’s Trust can help provide support and opportunities for young people, particularly those who are moving away from gangs and crime. They have helped thousands of young people through support, guidance, volunteering and job opportunities.
If you don't feel as though you can talk to your parents, a teacher or the police, then talk to a professional in confidence. ChildLine could be your first call on 0800 1111 – their counsellors can support young people 24 hours a day.
The non-profit organisation, Catch 22, works with young people and adults providing intervention, rehabilitation and victim services in prison and in the community.
The charity provides specialist support to help people cope with the impact and effects of crime. Victim Support provide independent, free, and confidential advice.
Are you a victim of knife crime?
If you've been a victim of knife crime, you're probably going through a whole mixture of emotions.
Being injured by an offensive weapon is no doubt one of the worst things that can happen to you. Even being threatened with a weapon can be incredibly frightening. Don't be embarrassed to ask for help – you need support and there are lots of ways for you to speak to someone, even anonymously.
If the police haven't already been notified, then you or someone close to you should contact them straight away, speak to a teacher or parent, your local Safer Neighbourhoods Team, or by going to your nearest police station.
If it's an emergency, and you still feel like you're in danger, you need to call 999 now.
What should you do if you've already injured someone?
If you've used a weapon to injure someone you're probably feeling a mixture of different emotions: fear, anger, denial, pain, loneliness, depression. You must own up. It will help if you proactively speak to the police. The level of trouble you'll be in will be far worse if you're found out later than if you do the right thing now.
If you want to speak to the police, call 101. If it's an emergency, call 999 now.
You can also call Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111. (You don't need to give your name and your call won't be traced.)
Do you know someone who carries or has used an offensive weapon?
It can be extremely worrying to think that your child, family member or friend is involved in something as dangerous as gang, knife or gun crime.
Maybe they're not carrying a weapon themselves but are associated with people who are. The natural reaction is to panic - but this won't resolve the situation and could push them away.
The consequences of taking no action, though, could be extremely serious for your child or someone else. You must do something about it.
If you discover they've been carrying a weapon, you'll almost certainly question why. There's a number of different reasons as to why people do including the need for a sense of protection, fear, intimidation, to gain respect, and/or peer pressure.
You're most likely asking yourself what you can do, there are things you can do to help the person you love and care about. You can talk to parents, teachers, youth workers, various charities or the police who can provide support to you, both to prepare for difficult conversations and then to support you afterwards.
If you are a parent - talk to the parents of your child's friends. If you're worried, they probably are as well. They may see your child in different places, hanging out with different friends and could help you get a better understanding of the situation. By working together you could raise awareness.
If you are a friend – you can talk to your friend’s parents, their teacher, social services or the police.
Whatever your relationship is, if they are at risk – tell someone.
Is it part of something bigger?
If you think there might be more to it than a one-off incident and that maybe them being threatened or injured by a weapon has something to do with gang crime; or that your child/friend is being asked to do things for a gang. Then you need to speak to police and we can start to take steps to protect people and reduce the risk to them. You could also pass on information anonymously through Crimestoppers.
There are also trained professionals who can offer confidential help, advice and counselling support for you and your child. Encourage your child to speak to Childline on 0800 1111 if you feel you are unable to give them the help they might need.
People might carry a knife or become involved in crime for many different reasons, and there isn’t one specific thing or issue that is solely responsible. However, we know that violence and knife crime are often the results of other issues such as drug dealing, organised crime and gang culture.
Sometimes people involved in crime will take advantage of young people and manipulate them into doing things they wouldn’t normally do such as helping to sell drugs, carrying weapons or stealing for example, all of which put young people at risk.
The tactics that these people use are clever, and someone might not understand they are being used or “groomed” to start doing things that could put them at risk. We know that most people want to feel that they are liked and part of a group.
Gangs and criminals use tactics that make young people feel that they will be looked after, or that they will gain respect or money. They promise protection, buy gifts such as trainers or phones or lend them money. But this means the young person is then in their debt and will owe them favours – such as carrying weapons or selling drugs. They have no problem with making money by putting a young person at risk.
The tactics that these people use are clever, and someone might not understand they are being used or 'groomed'. They can include:
making a young person feel that they will be looked after
that they will gain respect or money
gifts such as trainers or phones
lending them money
We know that some young people, when put in a difficult and frightening situation, have made decisions in the heat of the moment that have unfortunately changed their lives and others forever.
Knowing the signs of gang grooming to spot can mean that you can help a young person before it’s too late – before they either get hurt or do something that they end up regretting.
What shall I look for?
If you are concerned about a young person then there are things you can look for - subtle changes in behaviour that could be an indicator:
Are they being secretive about where they are, what they are doing, who they are seeing?
Will they let you look in their bags or pockets?
Will they let you look at their phone, are they secretive about who is calling or messaging? Do they have multiple mobile phones?
Are they coming home with items they can’t afford, or they are unwilling to explain where they got them – such as phones, expensive trainers or clothes?
Are they going missing for periods of time or playing truant from school?
Have they stopped engaging with teachers or going to school or perhaps they aren’t doing as well?
Have they stopped doing after school activities or going to clubs they used to like?
Are they scared to go out or perhaps reticent to go to certain places?
Have they started to hang around with different or older people, have an older boy or girlfriend and perhaps aren’t seeing their existing friends as much?
Do they seem scared, quiet or angry a lot more than they used to?
Do they have marks or injuries that they seem very secretive about?