Operation Sceptre: Tackling knife crime in our county
Knife crime has become a big issue here in Bedfordshire and across wider society, and it is important that we work hard to reduce the threat of knife crime and the impact it has on communities.
What defines knife crime?
Knife crime is simply any crime that involves a knife.
carrying a knife or trying to buy one if you’re under 18
threatening someone with a knife
carrying a knife that is banned
a murder where the victim was stabbed with a knife
a robbery or burglary where the thieves carried a knife as a weapon
Why do people carry knives?
Some young people say that they carry a knife for protection or to make them feel safer, even though they wouldn’t think of using it. However, research has shown that you’re actually more likely to become a victim of crime if you’re carrying a knife.
In some cases, teens have been injured or killed by someone else using the knife they were carrying.
Not only do you put yourself at risk of serious injury, or death, you could also face a £5,000 fine and four years in jail – even if you don’t use it.
If you have considered carrying a knife – or are already carrying – there are things you need to think about.
We can’t reiterate enough the seriousness if you are found carrying a knife. Not only do you risk a hefty fine and jail sentence just for carrying one, but you could also get a criminal record which could hamper your chances of getting a job or leaving the country to go on holiday.
Don’t stand out from the crowd and start doing something that could have serious consequences, for you, your friends and your family.
What are the police doing to tackle knife crime?
We are working hard to proactively drive down knife crime in Bedfordshire.
Preventing young people from being drawn into gangs is a big priority and we are tackling this by working with partner agencies and charities, including the Bedfordshire Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit, to identify young people at risk and help them turn their life around.
It is important to show our young people an alternative path and break the cycle of gang violence and exploitation.
Officers from Boson, our dedicated guns and gangs team, regularly run specialist patrols in the areas most affected by knife crime and the drivers of serious violence, such as drug dealing and gang activity.
As well as a way of enforcing serious or repeat offenders, these patrols also act as a deterrent and give officers the opportunity to engage with young people about gang issues.
We support Operation Sceptre, a national week of action that gives us the opportunity to highlight the work we are doing to tackle knife crime, by organising weapon sweeps and high visibility patrols, giving educational talks in schools, and engaging with and educating retailers.
We are also part of the Bedfordshire Against Violence and Exploitation countywide campaign to raise awareness and reporting on all forms of serious youth violence and exploitation, especially those linked to organised crime and county lines.
We do ask anyone with 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.
There is no place for knife crime within society and we will continue to do what we can to tackle this.
How can I get rid of a knife or weapon?
We have a number of weapons bins across the county and every knife surrendered is one less dangerous weapon in circulation on the streets of Bedfordshire.
The locations of the bins have been selected based on where we have seen an increase in serious youth violence and knife crime, using information from our community policing teams and from our Boson guns and gangs team, cross matched with intelligence.
You can dispose of your knife at any one of the following knife bins:
Bedford Square, Houghton Regis
Dunstable Police Station
Leighton Buzzard Fire Station
Tomlinson Avenue, Luton (in the car park for St. Dominics Square)
People's Park, Luton (on the corner of North Street and Havelock Road)
Just off St George's Street, Luton (between Don Miller's and Lloyds Bank)
Millennium Green, Shefford
Morrisons, St Francis Way, Shefford
Church Lane shops, Goldington, Bedford
Commercial Road/Costin Street, Bedford (near the basketball courts)
St John's Street, Kempston (in the car park opposite the Co-op)
We would advise people to ensure that the knife is wrapped up and secure as if you are stopped by an officer, you would need to prove that you are on your way to a weapons bin to actually dispose of it, as opposed to someone who is found with a knife concealed in their clothing.
Just because the knife has been surrendered, doesn’t mean it won’t be sent off for a forensic examination. If it’s found to have been used in crime, then you will not be immune from prosecution just because you have surrendered it.
As a young person, what can I do if a have concerns about knife crime?
If you are a young person worried about knife crime, or are involved with it already, it is not too late to get help. You can talk to your teacher, or another grown up you trust – there is plenty of support available.
If you are nervous about talking to the police, the Bedfordshire Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit is also on hand to support you; whether you have any concerns about knife crime, want to get out of a gang or want to find out more information on the consequences of knife crime.
Where can I get support if I’m worried my child is involved in knife crime?
If you are a parent, guardian or carer, it’s understandably worrying if you find out that your child is carrying a knife, or that they are involved with people who do. It’s important that you talk to your child and keep communication open with them.
Speak to them about the serious consequences of carrying a knife and try to find out why they feel the need to carry a knife. It could be that they don’t feel safe, or because their friends do. It’s important to get to the reason before you can address it.
Carrying a knife could be a sign that your child is involved in gang related crime. It is important that they know you want to listen and support them. Make sure they know they have a choice.