Knife crime: what are police doing in campaign to tackle it and what are knife amnesty bins?

All police forces in England and Wales are taking part in Operation Sceptre this week to clampdown on knife crime

Police forces across the country have launched a week of action to tackle knife crime.

All 43 forces in England and Wales and the British Transport Police are taking part in the operation which builds on work done daily to reduce knife crime.

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A part of Operation Sceptre police have targeted those carrying knives as well as speaking to young people and parents to understand the why someone might carry a blade, and also highlight the risks of carrying one.

Those who want to dispose of a knife can do so safely in their nearest knife amnesty bin. Anyone with concerns about someone carrying a knife can contact police or Crimestoppers.

Here’s what you need to know about the operation and the knife bin programme.

What is Operation Sceptre and what has been said about it?

Operation Sceptre is a national anti-knife crime campaign which takes place twice a year.

Throughout the campaign the aim is to take knives off the streets and reduce the number of people involved in knife crime.

As part of the operation police carry out educational talks in schools and colleges, stop and search activity, knife sweeps, high visibility patrols, warrants. They also visit people who repeatedly carry knives, as well as speaking to retailers, youth groups and charities.

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for knife crime, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty, said: “Knife crime can have a devastating impact on families and communities, police forces are working night and day to tackle this problem. Operation Sceptre offers us the chance to work across all forces to concentrate our efforts in tackling knife crime, a significant contributor of violence in the UK.

“The week will focus on many different areas, including education, engagement and prevention. This is a system wide approach and one we work closely with our partners to achieve. We are asking all forces to intensify the efforts that take place all year round in getting knives off the streets, potentially saving lives.

“We want those who may be carrying a knife out of fear to come forward and speak with police or an adult that they can trust such as a youth worker, teacher at school, charities or by calling crimestoppers. We want to help young people get out of the cycle of violence and stop the devastation caused to them and their families due to knife crime.”

In a social media post the Metropolitan Police spoke about how the week of action would see officers out across the capital carrying out activities as part of the campaign.

It said: “This week the Met is joining other police forces around the country in coordinated efforts to intensify action against knife crime and wider violence. Operation Sceptre will see officers across London carrying out a range of activity aimed at suppressing knife crime across the capital.”

What are knife amnesty bins?

Knife amnesty bins, also known as knife bins or banks are a way for people who own knives to get rid of them in a safe, anonymous way.

The knife amnesty bin programme was started in 2006.

Knife bins are secure and made of galvanised steel and have anti-vandal padlocks.

The bins are distinctive, with many of them bright red, however they come in other colours too.

UK weapons surrender charity Word 4 Weapons places knife bins in towns and cities across the UK.

The charity says tens of thousands of knives, guns and other weapons have been surrendered into its knife bins.

The British Ironwork Centre donated knife banks to police forces around the country as part of the Knife Angel scheme.

It saw a sculpture, The Knife Angel, also known as the National Monument Against Violence & Aggression, created by the centre along with artist Alfie Bradley with 100,000 seized knives.

The 27ft sculpture was created to highlight knife crime and educate young people about the consequences, it was completed in 2018 now tours the country. It is currently in Lancashire.

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