Operation Sceptre focuses on deterring young people from knife crime
Main article content
A major conference designed to drive young people away from crime is set to form the centrepiece of a week of action by different agencies across Bedfordshire to tackle knife crime.
Starting today (Monday) and running until Sunday (22 May), Operation Sceptre gives Bedfordshire Police the opportunity to highlight the proactive work it does with its partners to drive down knife crime in the county.
Activity across the week will include weapons sweeps, providing educational talks in schools, engaging and educating retailers, as well as proactive high visibility patrols in areas most affected by knife crime.
It has coincided with a three-day youth conference being jointly run by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) and the Bedfordshire Violence and Reduction Unit (VERU), which is taking place from Wednesday until Friday (18 to 20 May).
Students from a number of schools across the county will have the opportunity to listen to guest speakers and take part in six different workshops delivered by a number of organisations, including Bedfordshire Police.
Charity, Link to Change will also be delivering sessions at a school in Dunstable, as part of an ongoing project under the Safer Streets programme.
Detective Chief Inspector Katie Dounias said: “It is imperative that we talk to and educate young people on the seriousness of knife crime and make them see how much trouble they could get into if they are caught carrying a knife and the impact this will have on the rest of their life.
“It’s great that this youth conference sits within the Operation Sceptre week of action, as it complements the proactive work we are already doing to engage with young people and deter them from getting involved in crime.
“Unfortunately, knife crime has become a big issue in our society and it is important that we continue to work hard to reduce the threat of knife crime and the impact it has.
“This is why it is so important for anyone who has information on knife crime in their local community to report it to us, as this helps us to build a better picture of the areas we need to target to keep people safe.”
Police and Crime Commissioner, Festus Akinbusoye said “As PCC, focusing on knife crime is high on my agenda but we cannot simply arrest our way of this problem. Tackling the root causes of gangs, knife crime and county lines is vital.
“I am working closely with the VERU, and this week sees us host our first-ever youth conference for students across Bedfordshire.
“The conference will see local partners and organisations deliver inspirational and educational talks to the schools, to encourage them to consider healthy choices away from crime.
“I am determined to do all I can to educate young people and show them a brighter path.”
Lisa Robinson, Interim Manager of Bedfordshire’s Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU) said: “Operation Sceptre provides another opportunity for us to showcase the multi-agency work that is happening across the county to help reduce violence and exploitation. We have been delighted to support the OPCC with its first ever youth conference, in which our Youth Intervention Specialist team will be sharing their experiences and talking about the support they provide.
“Our primary aim will always be to ensure that young people in Bedfordshire are fully aware of the support network and opportunities that are available to them. Often times, young people can find themselves in challenging circumstances that can cause them to be on the wrong side of the law. It’s crucial they are not only educated on the consequences of their decisions, but also fully aware of where to turn for help.”
To report concerns about knife crime, please report online or call police on 101.
You can also call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. They will never ask for your name or try to trace the number that you're calling from.