Young people across Sussex will be part of a conversation to about knife crime during a week-long national campaign.
Officers will be visiting schools, colleges and youth events in order to inform and educate young people about how to act if they feel pressure to carry a knife, and what to do if they feel in danger.
The campaign, named Operation Sceptre running between 11-17 March, supports the work Sussex Police carry out all year round to ensure residents are safe from knife crime in their communities.
Operation Sceptre, originally started by the Metropolitan Police Service, is a twice-yearly run campaign that aims to tackle the danger that knife crime poses by educating those most at risk and carrying out proactive work that takes knives off our streets.
Assistant Chief Constable Nick May said: “We are keenly aware of how much focus knife crime is getting in the media at the moment. We now need everyone to help continue keeping our county safe.”
“Operation Sceptre gives us a chance to talk about knife crime in a realistic and open fashion: we want to give young people the chance to stay safe, we do not want to demonise them. It is imperative we remind them they have choices in life, and that help is out there if they do not feel safe.”
“Talk to the young people in your life, drop off your dangerous and unwanted blades to our knife amnesty bins, and if you need to talk to someone anonymously, Crimestoppers can be reached on 0800 555 111. As always, you can report crime online, or via 101. In an emergency, always call 999.”
As well as the educational side, targeted patrols will take place across the county with officers working alongside British Transport Police. There is also other planned activity with days of action, working alongside other partners allowing us to talk about the dangers of knife crime and engage with those at risk of carrying knives.
There is also a knife amnesty where people are encouraged to drop off their dangerous or unwanted knives and blades at police stations across Sussex. These amnesty bins are in place all year round, and there will be no consequences if weapons are disposed of safely here. Knife amnesty bins are located at the following stations: Worthing (Chatsworth Road), Shoreham, Chichester, Bognor, Littlehampton, Midhurst, Horsham, Crawley, Eastbourne, Lewes, Seaford, Newhaven, Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill, East Grinstead, Hastings, Bexhill, Battle, Rye, Hailsham, Uckfield, Crowborough, Brighton.
Test purchasing will be carried out throughout Sussex, where officers, PCSOs and cadets will mystery shop to see which premises allow them to buy knives without their age being asked for.
The week is being supported by Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne. She said: “Getting killed or ending up with life changing injuries or a prison sentence because of knife crime is not a choice anybody would rationally make, but far too many young people are putting themselves at risk by choosing to carry a knife.
“The Operation Sceptre campaign will raise awareness of these dangers and provide opportunities for young people to discuss what might motivate them to carry a knife.
“I hope that the recent media coverage of families devastated by knife crime will encourage people to use the amnesty bins across the county and take unnecessary blades off our streets. Lose the knife, not your life.”