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Police support national knife crime campaign reminding public that carrying a knife does NOT make you safer

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Police support national knife crime campaign reminding public that carrying a knife does NOT make you safer

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Devon and Cornwall Police has been taking part in a national campaign, called ‘Sceptre’, raising awareness around knife carrying and knife crime and the police response in detecting and preventing it.

The campaign, led by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), ran from Monday, 13 May, to Sunday, 19 May.

The campaign is part of the wider strategy to remove dangerous weapons from the streets and keep communities safe.

During the week, enhanced patrols, engagement events and education talks at local schools and youth organisations were carried out. Officers attended local schools with a knife arch to boost education, engage with young people and raise awareness of the dangers of knife carrying to help reduce knife crime.

Recent efforts during the Sceptre campaign, an innovation aimed at tackling knife crime, have provided an opportunity for members of the community to surrender knives safely and discreetly at knife surrender bins placed in local police stations across the region.

Officers also carried out weapon sweeps and stop and search activities throughout the counties and worked with police cadets to carry out test purchasing to under 18s with knife retailers.  

Some of the activities and results are listed below:

Weapons seized: 112
Stop and search: 39
Engagement events: 39
Surrender bins: 25
Test purchases: 21
Weapons sweeps: 5
Arrests: 3

A key focus of the week was to "raise awareness around the consequences and dangers of carrying a knife". Some people think they will be safer if they carry a knife, when actually they may be putting themselves in more danger and may even end up being injured by their own knife.

Force Knife Crime Lead for Devon & Cornwall Police, Detective Chief Inspector Steve Fleetwood said: “Devon and Cornwall Police supports this national campaign whole-heartedly. Thankfully, knife crime in Devon and Cornwall remains low, but one person carrying a knife is one too many, so we work with our partners through the year to keep knives out of the hands of young people.

“Sceptre has led to a successful week getting knives off the street, engaging with the public and raising awareness around knife carrying. 

“This work doesn’t just happen twice a year though, we work tirelessly throughout the year to detect and prevent knife crime.  

"Last week we used a number of tactics, including encouraging people to surrender their knives at local police stations, weapons sweeps in public areas, visiting schools and youth organisations with the knife arch to educate young people and carrying out test purchases with knife retailers.

"A number of arrests have also been made. 

“Some people think knife carrying will make them safer or appear ‘cool’ or in control, when actually they are more likely to be injured with their own knife. We do recognise that  incidents involving knives can and do happen.

"There have been a number of serious incidents involving knives over the last week alone. This emphasises the importance of our on-going efforts to remove knives from our streets.

“It is important that people are aware of the law and that we protect the public by raising awareness about the consequences of carrying a knife.  If anyone has concerns about someone they know who carries a knife or knife crime in their community, we encourage them to report it.

“Devon and Cornwall Police remains one of the safest places to live in the country, but we remain vigilant and proactive in relation to preventing knife crime and keeping our communities safe. We will continue to use every available resource to combat knife crime and keep our neighbourhoods amongst the safest in the country.”

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly added: "Knife crime is a societal scourge that blights communities and wrecks lives. It disproportionately affects young people in urban areas all over the UK and whilst our region is proud to be one of the safest in the country, overall rates of violence are on the rise and under 25s are increasingly falling victim.

“I would urge anyone thinking of arming with a knife to think again – evidence shows it puts you at greater risk of injury yourself and will only escalate violence.

“There is no room for complacency, so I welcome the results of Op Sceptre last week – the safety of all residents, but particularly young people, remains the upmost priority for my office, and since its launch in 2020, has formed the central focus of the peninsula’s Serious Violence Prevention Programme.

"That’s why I’ve recently funded the purchase of a second knife detection arch for Devon and Cornwall and am fully behind last week’s campaign to actively tackle knife carrying across our region.”

If you have any information or concerns about someone carrying a knife, please report it to Devon and Cornwall Police online via the website dc.police.uk/tua.

You can also report any information anonymously to CrimeStoppers UK on 0800 555111. Your information could help save a life.

Retailers can visit this website for guidance on selling knives: www.nbcc.police.uk/knifeguidance

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