Between Monday 15th and Sunday 21st November police forces from across the country took part in a week of intensified action to help tackle knife crime.
Throughout the week-long operation an increase in activity took place which resulted in a total of 957 knives being taken off Lancashire streets and 77 arrests being made.
Tackling knife crime requires a multi-faceted response including preventative work with schools and colleges. Police officers worked with knife crime educators to conduct 40 educational sessions in schools, where young people where shown why carrying a knife is never the right choice.
In addition to schools, retailers also have an important part to play, specifically in preventing knives from falling into the hands of those who are underage. Police officers and cadets visited 38 retailers to conduct test purchasing and check retailer knowledge on the sale of knives.
High visibility patrols took place across the county, habitual knife carriers were visited, and metal detecting knife arches were erected in public places to help identify people who may be carrying knives. Knife surrender bins provide a secure place to hand in knives and yielded 870 knives in total.
Temporary Chief Inspector Dave Oldfield of the Lancashire Violence Reduction Network, who co-ordinated activity, said:
“Tackling violence remains a priority throughout the whole year as we work together with partners to tackle the root causes of knife and violent crime and deliver long-lasting positive change.
“This week of intensified activity and education has been hugely successful, even improving on what was achieved by everyone in the previous week of action in April.
“The visit of the Knife Angel to Lancashire has without doubt produced higher levels of interaction with the public, right across the county, and the information received has helped to drive activity to keep our communities safe.
“870 weapons have been disposed of in knife surrender bins alone, and almost 700 people have attended education talks or events, which is all extremely positive.
“At the start of Op Sceptre week, I spoke about knife crime not only impacting on the individuals involved, but also their families, friends and the wider community. Whilst wanting to thank everyone for their efforts and also acknowledging that the vast majority of people in Lancashire do not carry knives, I want to continue to urge those thinking about carrying a knife to reconsider and prevent lives from being negatively changed forever.”
Andrew Snowden, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner said:
“Every single knife that is taken off the streets, whether surrendered using one of the knife bins across Lancashire or as part of the vital work officers do as we get tough on crime, is one less weapon that could end or ruin many lives.
“Operation Sceptre gives an insight into the work that Lancashire police carry out around the clock, to crack down on those who carry these dangerous weapons. It also provides a great example of how the force will listen to the public, address local concerns and act on intelligence to protect our streets.
“I am fully committed to working closely with the Constabulary as I lead the fight against crime, ensuring the force has the resources to bring offenders to justice, whilst also working with partners across Lancashire to raise awareness of just how dangerous carrying a knife is, for the person carrying it and the wider community.”