Cheshire Constabulary has numerous plans in place in support of a national campaign to take knives off the streets and educate people about the dangers of carrying weapons.
Held next week – from Monday 26 April to Sunday 2 May – Operation Sceptre aims to reduce the impact of knife crime in communities.
Cheshire has one of the lowest rates of knife crime in England, and statistics show that the number of knife-related offences committed in the county decreased by 24 per cent from the end of March 2020 to the end of March 2021.
The force is determined to further reduce the number of knives carried on Cheshire’s streets.
Cheshire Constabulary has a multi-faceted approach to tackling knife crime as it endeavours to achieve weapons-free streets throughout the county.
The force’s considerable ongoing efforts in this regard will be heightened by enforcement and engagement initiatives held in Cheshire during the national week of action.
- Community weapons sweeps
- Stop and search operations
- Warrants being executed in related to knife crime
- Intelligence-led action against habitual knife carriers
- Test purchase operations
- Engagement events working alongside partner agencies such as community groups, housing associations and Trading Standards to educate Cheshire residents about the laws surrounding buying and carrying knives
- Visiting education establishments to talk to young people about the potentially fatal consequences of carrying weapons
- Speaking to retailers that sell knives about security and the national Challenge 25 policy
- Facilitating more bleeding control kits being in place at community venues across Cheshire (the kits contain equipment and instructions that enable members of the public to prevent knife crime victims from bleeding to death).
The operation will also see constabularies work alongside Border Force to identify people who import knives into the country from overseas, as well as those who buy weapons online, and take the appropriate action.
Chief Inspector Sarah Heath, who is Cheshire Constabulary’s knife crime lead, said: “Nationally, knife crime is a growing problem, and the week-long Operation Sceptre campaign is an initiative that the force is always more than happy to support.
“We were severely restricted in terms of the work we could do during last year’s two weeks of action for Operation Sceptre, with them having fallen when the country was in lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Now that we have come out of lockdown, there are more avenues open to us in terms of tackling knife crime across Cheshire over the seven days.
“However, knife crime is an issue that the force tackles throughout the year, with officers working day and night to protect communities.
“We take knife crime extremely seriously and are proud of the fact that Cheshire has a lower rate of knife crime than most other counties in England.
“When people carry knives, it is only a matter of time before someone suffers life-changing injuries or is killed, and if you carry a knife then you are much more likely to be involved in a knife crime.
“As all the statistics show, carrying a knife doesn’t make you safer.
“At Cheshire Constabulary we have a structured prepare, protect, pursue and prevent approach to tackling knife crime that involves various partner agencies, including local authorities, education providers, health authorities, third sector organisations, youth representatives and community groups.
“We work together to achieve long-term change by educating young people about the dangers and futility of carrying weapons.
“We make sure they know that carrying a knife, even if they have no intention of using it, is a crime and can increase the likelihood of suffering an injury and having a criminal record.
“We also steer them away from criminality and offer them attractive alternative ways to spend their time.
“Our goal is to achieve weapons-free streets throughout the county and we endeavour – through education, awareness and action – to make Cheshire an area where no-one carries a knife, or feels that there is a reason to do so.
“However, the police cannot achieve this goal on our own. Knife crime is a societal problem that cannot be solved without the support of the whole society.
“If you have any information regarding knife crimes, or those who carry weapons, please let us know.
“If you know someone who carries a knife then reporting it to the police could be enough to save a life.”
Retailers also have an important role to play, by helping to ensure that weapons are not falling into the wrong hands. They are urged to have robust controls on the sale of blades, such as kitchen knives.
It is illegal to sell a knife to anyone under the age of 18, and anyone found carrying a knife in public, without a reasonable excuse, faces a prison sentence.
To report any type of crime involving weapons, call Cheshire Constabulary on 101, or 999 in an emergency.
Information can also be passed to the force online via Report
Anyone who knows someone that carries a knife can report it to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via Crimestoppers