Between September 16 and 22, Sussex Police joined other forces across the country to raise awareness of knife crime as part of Operation Sceptre.
The national week of action saw our officers attending local colleges and schools to speak to young people about the dangers of knife crime and the potential consequences if they are found to be in possession of one. Throughout the week over 3,000 students at different educational establishments were spoken to and numerous discussions had about the impact they felt knife crime had on their community.
Test purchases were also carried out across the county. This involved Police Cadets working with officers and Trading Standards colleagues to try and buy a knife in shops when they were clearly under the age of 18. Out of 39 shops tested, 5 failed. Those that failed were given warnings and will be tested again. A further failure will result in them being named and either fined or prosecuted.
Increased patrols in town centres and other areas identified as anti-social behaviour hotspots resulted in a number of items being seized by officers. This included a homemade knife and a baseball bat with nails in.
Throughout the week members of the public were encouraged to dispose of knives and bladed articles in our knife amnesty bins placed at police stations across Sussex, all of which will now be destroyed.
Superintendent Ed De La Rue said: “Operation Sceptre gives us the opportunity to talk about knife crime in an open and honest way. I find it extremely encouraging that so many of you felt you could open up and speak to us about this issue, sharing your thoughts and experiences as part of the local community.
“Whilst we did increase our activity during this week of action, our activity to combat knife crime is part of everyday policing. We always have amnesty bins in police stations where you can drop off your dangerous and unwanted blades and we will continue to work with our partners to take positive action when knife crime occurs.”
Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner added: "The Operation Sceptre campaign raises awareness of the consequences of knife crime and provides opportunities for young people to discuss what might motivate them to carry one.
“It is also reassuring that ‘test purchases’ are carried out by Sussex Police to find out exactly how knives are being made accessible to young people. Hopefully this activity will serve as a reminder to business owners that they too have a responsibility in the fight against knife crime.”
If you need to talk to someone anonymously, Crimestoppers can be reached on 0800 555 111. As always, you can report online or via 101. In an emergency, always call 999.