More than 4,000 bladed weapons off the streets in Bedfordshire this year
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Over 4,000 knives and blades have been recovered in Bedfordshire so far this year, as police and partners work together to drive down knife crime in the county.
Last week’s Operation Sceptre, the national week of action which aims to reduce knife crime, gave Bedfordshire Police officers and staff the opportunity to engage with local communities on reporting concerns and the consequences of carrying a knife.
Several initiatives took place across the week, including weapons sweeps in public parks, high visibility patrols in areas most effected by knife crime, retailer engagement days and educational talks in schools.
People were also urged to ‘bin their blade’ and hand their weapons into one of the force’s 11 weapons bins across the county.
The bins were emptied prior to the week of action, and officers found 798 blades.
They were emptied again at the beginning of this week and a further 119 blades were recovered.
A total of 4,118 knives and blades have been recovered from these weapons bins so far this year.
After being reviewed by officers to see if they have been used in any criminal acts, the weapons will then be destroyed.
The week of action gave officers the opportunity to educate and engage with retailers which sell knives, providing 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 force’s Education and Diversion team also incorporated talks on knife crime into their visits to schools throughout Bedfordshire, showing students examples of recent cases and the consequences of what could happen if they are caught carrying a knife, even if they think it is for their own protection.
Recorded incidents of serious youth violence have reduced by 23 per cent over the past three months compared to the previous three months, after a concerted effort by police and other agencies.
Recorded knife crime also fell to its lowest monthly level in three years in October.
Detective Chief Inspector Katie Dounias said: “It’s great that we have seen a high number of dangerous weapons recovered this year and we want to continue building on this work so we can severely reduce the number of knife related crimes in our county.
“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.
“Although we have seen a recent reduction in serious youth violence and knife crime, incidents like the tragic deaths of two men and a third left seriously injured in Houghton Regis earlier this month show that there is still a lot of work to be done.
“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.”
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.
In an emergency always dial 999.
Visit our #EndChildExploitation page find out the locations of the county-wide weapons bins, and more about the work the force is doing with its partners to keep children and young people in Bedfordshire safe, including tackling knife crime and violent offenders, and getting dangerous weapons off the streets.