From today (Monday 15th May), the Lancashire Violence Reduction Network (VRN) is supporting Operation Sceptre, a national week of police action targeting knife crime.
The bi-annual operation will run from 15-21 May. Working in partnership with other organisations and communities across the county, Lancashire police will be intensifying its activity to tackle knife crime, as well as increasing education on the impact it has on individuals, families, and the wider community.
The VRN is supporting the operation by coordinating additional policing activity and working closely with other partner agencies to carry out several initiatives throughout the week.
These initiatives are drawn upon through Home Office ‘Grip’ funding and include:
- Additional high visibility patrols, particularly in ‘hotspot’ areas and targeting known offenders.
- An increase in education and awareness campaigning around the consequences of carrying a knife.
- Weapon sweeps to search for knives in public places such as local parks.
- Test purchases to check and educate retail stores on the laws around selling knives.
Susannah Clarke, Director of the Lancashire Violence Reduction Network said: “The Violence Reduction Network is committed to tackling knife crime and serious violence in Lancashire, and we recognise that this can only be achieved by working with partners across the county to address the root causes of violence.
This is reflected in our ongoing work on knife crime education through the preventative approach we take and positive diversionary activities we put in place for our young people.”
Chief Inspector Dave Oldfield, added, “Intensification weeks such as Operation Sceptre provide an opportunity not just for increased police activity to tackle criminality, but also to focus on preventative measures through education.
We have seen some great results come out of our previous Operation Sceptre weeks, with over 1,300 knives being recovered from surrender bins in Lancashire in November 2022.
My message to anyone thinking about carrying a knife is to reconsider, as in a brief moment, your life can be changed forever.”
During the last Operation Sceptre (November 2022), over 3,000 young people were engaged with education talks around the consequences of carrying a knife, over 100 arrests were made, and 28 weapon sweeps were conducted.
Andrew Snowden, Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire said, “Cracking down on those who carry dangerous weapons is vital to keeping our streets safe. Each knife that is confiscated by the police, or surrendered at a designated place, is one less potential victim.
“The carrying of knives is not acceptable and whilst education around the dangers is important, targeting offenders and getting their weapons removed from our streets has to continue to happen.
“After securing funding for the continuation of Lancashire Violence Reduction Network’s work, I will ensure the Chief Constable has the resources he needs to proactively tackle knife crime and other violent crime, bringing offenders to justice.”
If you have any information about knife crime in Lancashire, contact the police on 101 or report anonymously to the independent charity, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.