1,112 knives have been taken off the streets of Lancashire during a national week of action to tackle knife crime. Operation Sceptre resulted in 239 arrests across the county, 11 of these arrests had knives seized directly.
The seven-day operation ran between Monday 13th and Sunday 20th November. The Lancashire Violence Reduction Network (VRN) worked with partner organisations, including Lancashire Constabulary, to conduct a variety of tactics to prevent knife crime. These included weapon sweeps, knife arches in public places and transport links, surrender bins, education talks, targeting habitual knife carriers and test purchasing.
During the week, Lancashire were successful in:
- Recovering 1,112 knives that had been surrendered in knife bins across the county
- Carrying out 289 stop searches, 30 of which led to an arrest and 6 recovered a knife
- 44 weapon sweeps in intel-led locations
- Engaging with 99 schools to promote education and prevention
- 62 diversion visits
- Visiting 32 schools and youth clubs to promote the location of local knife bins
- Carrying out 42 test purchases at retailers – 10 failed by selling a bladed article to Under 18s. These have been given a warning by Trading Standards.
Alongside these enforcement tactics, education and prevention plays a key part in the VRN’s approach to tackling knife crime. 99 schools took part in knife crime education talks which involved highlighting the dangers of carrying a blade and urged students to realise that those who carry knives are in the minority.
Chief Inspector Dave Oldfield said: “If you think you need to carry a knife because everyone else does, then you’re wrong. It is important to remember that most people do not carry knives.”
“However, we have seen the impact knife-related incidents here in Lancashire have had on people’s lives and the wider communities, and our aim is to prevent further devastation by educating people from an early age about the dangers of knife carrying and getting involved in violent crime.”
“Preventing knife crime is complex which is why as a VRN we work with a wide range of organisations to approach the challenge with a variety of methods. We will continue working closely with our partners in the NHS, local authorities, police, prisons and education amongst others to ensure that every opportunity is being taken to make our communities and streets safer.”
Future knife crime awareness presentations are also currently being planned by the VRN. In the new year, the ‘No More Knives Tour’ will be delivering inputs in Preston and Blackpool secondary schools. The aim of the tour is to inform, equip and empower students with the skills and knowledge they need to say no to knives. The inputs will be led by a representative of The Message Trust and include music performances, video content, personal stories and presentations on knife crime from local police representatives.
Image above showing British Transport Police’s PD Ash at Blackpool North Train Station with the knife arch.