Successful knife crime week of action leads to more than 1,800 knives recovered
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More than 1,800 knives have been recovered in Bedfordshire following a proactive week of action dedicated to driving down knife crime in the county.
Between 16 and 22 May, officers from Bedfordshire Police joined partners and communities as part of the national Operation Sceptre campaign, which aims to reduce criminality and provide education around the consequences of carrying a knife.
Across the week, several initiatives took place, including weapons sweeps in public parks, high visibility patrols in areas most effected by knife crime, retailer engagement days and educational talks in schools.
Officers made an arrest in Luton after a member of the public reported that he had seen a man carrying a knife. The suspect was quickly identified and taken into police custody for questioning and is now facing a jail sentence.
The 11 weapons bins across the county were emptied prior to the week of action, and officers found 1,731 blades and eight firearms.
The bins were emptied again at the beginning of this week and a further 137 blades were recovered.
After being reviewed by officers to see if they have been used in any criminal acts, the weapons will then be destroyed.
Officers also visited a number of retailers which sell knives to provide guidance to staff members on the dangers of knives being purchased for criminal purposes, such as information on the age requirements for purchasing a knife.
The week of action also coincided with a three-day youth conference which was designed to drive young people away from crime and students the opportunity to listen to guest speakers and take part in six different workshops delivered by a number of organisations, including Bedfordshire Police.
Detective Chief Inspector Katie Dounias said: “This week of action gave us the opportunity to show our communities some of the work we are doing to tackle knife crime in Bedfordshire, as well as emphasising the consequences if you are caught carrying a knife.
“We know that knife crime has a huge impact on our communities, and I want to reassure people that we work hard all year round to drive down this down. We are doing this by not only targeting perpetrators, but also working closely with organisations such as the VERU to prevent young people from being drawn into gangs, as well as identifying those at risk and to help them choose a different path.
“However, we can’t do this alone, which is why we encourage members of the public to let us know if they suspect someone is carrying a knife, whether this is with the intention of using it or if they’re under the false impression that it will protect them. It won’t; and in fact, they are far more likely to become a victim themselves.”