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Over 9,639 knives removed from the streets as part of police week of action

29 Nov 2021

Operation Sceptre, the regular police operation to tackle knife crime, took place between Monday, 15 November to Sunday, 21 November.

Forces in England and Wales, as well as the British Transport Police, took part in the seven-day crack down on knife crime which saw 1,977 people arrested, of which 773 were related to knife crime offences. The week sees an intensification of work that is carried out across all forces, all year round.

Some of the weapons seized during the week, included machetes, swords and hunting knives. Through the engagement and enforcement tactics available, other forms of criminality such as supplying drugs were also identified, including large scale cannabis farms.

Forces have been using every tactic available including weapons sweeps, using knife arches in public places and events, and also used honesty bins to remove knives off the streets. Officers seized 936 knives and 8703 were either surrendered or found in sweeps.

As part of Operation Sceptre the police worked closely with HM Prison Service, who regularly enforce searching and operations to crack down on violence within their prisons. Across five prisons, 74 cells and 118 inmates were searched on an intelligence led basis. Within the prisons, 12 weapons were found, among them were a sharpened toilet brush handle and a knife made from a sharpened tuna tin.

As well as the removal of knives the week focusses on education and engagement with members of the public and retailers who sell knives. In total, 1,731 schools were engaged with, as well as 727 local community events put on to talk about the dangers of knife crime. Youth engagement forms a significant part of the week, helping young people move away from violence and involvement in gang activity.

The week saw many different areas of policing come to together from response officers, to underwater search teams and neighborhood policing teams.

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for knife crime, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty, said:

“The effects of knife crime can cause devastation among individuals, families and communities. Every force across the country works tirelessly to take knives off the streets and crack down on the serious violence associated with them. This week has seen an extraordinary effort to intensify that focus.

“We have seen some outstanding results in the last week taking 9,639 knives off our streets and making 773 knife related arrests, more than any previous Op Sceptre. This enforcement activity makes it clear that we will not tolerate knife crime.

“Op Sceptre highlights the continuing commitment of the police to work with the public in preventing young people carrying knives and our latest Op Sceptre saw our engagement with schools and communities increase to higher levels than ever before. Young people must understand that carrying a knife is not the answer, nor does it offer the protection they think it does. It only puts them at greater risk.”

The Minister for Crime and Policing, Kit Malthouse, said: 

“Knife violence is a stain on our communities. Until you have spent time with the families of those who have lost loved ones to this vicious crime, you cannot comprehend the devastation they feel.

“That’s why I am determined to make the fight against knife crime relentless. Operation Sceptre is a big part of that commitment, and I commend those officers dedicated to making our families safer. But while we concentrate on strong enforcement now, we must also do the long-term work to turn young people away from violence and we are investing heavily in this twin track to make sure all our kids make it home safe.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

42 forces, as well as the British Transport Police took part.