PCC praises police focus on knife crime after 400 knives taken off the streets
Wiltshire's Police and Crime Commissioner has praised a two week period of intensified action after more than 400 knives were handed in across Wiltshire during Operation Sceptre, a national policing initiative tackling knife crime.
From May 15 through to May 27, members of the public made use of 12 knife surrender bins placed in locations across the county to hand in bladed weapons they had been carrying. A total of 439 knives and bladed articles were handed in, including 173 in Swindon alone.
PCC Philip Wilkinson said: “Operation Sceptre has taken a broad and comprehensive approach to tackling knife crime, and the amount of proactive work undertaken by Wiltshire Police over the past few weeks has led to many weapons being surrendered.
“Each knife taken off the streets is a step towards making the streets of Wiltshire safer.
“We have engaged with local schools, community groups and charities to educate our young people and challenge the misconception that carrying a knife or weapon makes people seem big or clever by demonstrating that the consequences are serious and too often fatal.
“Maintaining visibility of officers in areas where there are concerns around knife crime remains a priority for the Chief Constable as part of creating safer public spaces and my priority of reducing violence and serious harm.”
Alongside this surrender campaign, Wiltshire Police officers conducted a range of activities – from tackling the root causes of knife crime through to enforcement.
During the two weeks officers visited schools and gave interactive presentations to young people on the risks of carrying knives, conducted community engagement events, weapons sweeps, took knife arches to schools, and proactively patrolled in areas of high demand around gang violence.
In one presentation at Swindon College, Insp David Tippetts utilised an interactive engagement package titled ‘A Different View’. Developed by the Met, it gives participants the opportunity to experience being a PC in a stop and search scenario, helping them to understand the decisions made and the thought process of officers involved.
Insp David Tippetts said: “It has been a positive two weeks of action across Wiltshire and I’m pleased with the number of knives that have been handed in across the county.
“It demonstrates that the public is aware of the dangers of knife crime and are determined to proactively reduce the likelihood of violent incidents, the kind of which we have seen in recent months in Swindon and other towns in Wiltshire.
“Knife crime remains a complex issue and is not a problem which policing can tackle alone.
“It’s been really positive to see all the different examples where we are working in collaboration with partner organisations to address some of the root causes and support young people in making informed choices.”