Police support national week of action to tackle knife crime
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Communities across Bedfordshire are being urged to play their part in tackling knife crime as police kick off a national week-long operation to get dangerous weapons off the streets.
Operation Sceptre starts today (Monday) and will see police and partners carrying out various operational activity across the county.
This will include weapons sweeps to recover weapons that have been discarded or hidden for future use, high visibility patrols in areas affected by knife crime and events in schools and town centres advising people how to report any concerns.
People are also being urged to ‘bin their blade’ as part of a countywide knife amnesty and hand their weapons into one of the force’s 11 weapons bins across the county.
Around 2,500 knives and other bladed weapons have been recovered from these bins already this year, which are set to be emptied by officers again during the week of action.
Detective Chief Inspector Katie Dounias said: “This Operation Sceptre week of action forms a vital part of our approach to tackling knife crime, ensuring we remove knives from the streets and tackle those who use weapons to cause fear or harm to others.
“Whilst we have seen a drop in knife crime and wider serious youth violence over the past few months, the incident in Houghton Regis over the weekend where two men sadly lost their lives and a third was left seriously injured, shows that there is much more work still to be done to tackle knife crime.
“This is why it is important that we continue to work with our schools and communities to educate young people about the dangers of carrying weapons.
“We are calling on anyone who carries a knife or knows someone else who does, to please take the opportunity to surrender it in one of our 11 weapons bins that are located around the county. By doing this, you are taking the first step to making better choices and giving yourself a brighter future.”
This week officers will take 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.
Bedfordshire Police’s Education and Diversion team will be incorporating 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.
The Bedfordshire Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit has also invested more than £400,000 into 16 community projects across the county to tackle knife crime, criminal exploitation and provide opportunities for young people.
Visit our Operation Sceptre page to 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.