Bedfordshire Police call knife amnesty as week of action begins
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We are urging members of the community to help get dangerous weapons off the streets as a national week of action against knife crime commences.
Yesterday (Monday) marked the start of the national police response to knife crime, Operation Sceptre. The week-long campaign will see police join forces with partners across the county to carry out various operational activities and community engagements.
This will include working alongside schools to highlight the dangers of knife crime, engaging with retailers to ensure knives are not sold to underage buyers, as well as conducting weapons sweeps to retrieve stashed or discarded weapons.
As part of the national campaign, forces across the country, including Bedfordshire, are taking a united stand and are calling for communities to surrender bladed articles and other dangerous weapons.
Last year, more than 4,100 weapons were handed into the force’s 11 weapons bins located across the county – marking the highest number on record.
Detective Inspector Liz Spurling, who leads Bedfordshire Police’s Serious and Organised Crime Tactical Team & Community Enforcement Team, said: “Operation Sceptre is a pinnacle time for forces up and down the country, providing a crucial opportunity to showcase the work that is continuously happening in the background to tackle knife crime in our communities.
“Though we are pleased to report a 14 per cent decrease in recorded knife related incidents, in recent weeks we have seen knife crime continue to devastate families and communities in our county and we simply can not allow for such activity on our streets.
“This is why I am speaking directly to anyone that carries a knife and calling on you to take part in this week’s amnesty and surrender your weapons. If your friend is someone that carries a knife, urge them to use one of our knife bins to hand the weapon in.
“You do have a choice, and by deciding not to carry a blade you can avoid the lifelong consequences associated with knife crime.
“We are committed to ensure our county is a safe and welcoming place for all communities, but we are asking local residents to support us in our efforts to create a knife free Bedfordshire.”
Recorded incidents of serious violence also fell by 31 per cent March this year compared to the previous year, following the increase of proactive patrols and support from partner agencies.
Bedfordshire’s Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit has also invested almost £400,000 into 24 different programmes and projects across the county to tackle knife crime, criminal exploitation and provide opportunities for young people.