Sussex Police is highlighting its ongoing activities in tackling knife crime and violence as part of the national week-long campaign launching today (9 November).
Operation Sceptre bolsters the work undertaken by Sussex police all year round to help keep residents safe from knife-related harm in their local communities.
Sussex is a safe place to live, although in line with national trends Sussex has seen an increase in knife crime. The vast majority of young people (99 per cent of 10-29-year-olds) do not carry a knife. However, bringing violence and knife crime down is a top priority and Sussex Police is determined to get knives off the streets for good.
Operation Sceptre is a 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. It is a misconception that carrying a knife makes you safer. Carrying a knife for protection is not a defence in law and even being caught with someone carrying can result in a sentence if you are caught.
Superintendent Stu Hale said: “Knives and dangerous weapons have no place on the streets of Sussex. We are determined to reduce the risk of knife-related harm by working together and making our message on knife possession crystal clear.
“Operation Sceptre is an opportunity to discuss knife crime in an open and honest way. We want to send the message to young people that carrying a knife is dangerous and can have serious consequences. Carrying a knife does not make you safer, in fact it puts you at more risk of being a victim.
“Addressing the root causes of knife crime is essential in tackling it. This is why we’re combining educational activities and amnesty with targeted, intelligence-led operations to both raise awareness among at-risk groups and disrupt crime in action.
“We have year-round operations to address knife crime including engaging with young people in schools, the launch of our knife crime engagement van and work with partners to ensure people are signposted to help at an early opportunity.
“We also work hard to target disrupt prolific offenders, through the Tactical Enforcement Unit and are intensifying our activities through days of action – which means individuals carrying knives are increasingly likely to be caught and prosecuted.
“This anti-knife week is also a crucial reminder that there is help out there for those who do not feel safe.”
Tactics will include targeted high visibility and plain-clothes patrols across the county. Other prioritised activity includes target stop and search against habitual knife carriers and previous offenders as and weapon sweeps by police officers.
As always, knife amnesty bins where people can safely dispose of dangerous or unwanted knives and blades at police stations across Sussex, no questions asked.
The week is being supported by Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne. She said: “Sussex Police remain steadfast in their commitment to taking prolific offenders off our streets, preventing knife crime and tackling serious violence.
“Operation Sceptre is a great opportunity to take the time to educate our young people of the dangers and life changing consequences of carrying a knife before it’s too late.
“Please remember that all knives can kill and maim and just by carrying one you are putting yourself and others in grave danger. The message is clear – lose the knife not a life.”
National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Knife Crime, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty, said: “Police forces up and down the country work tirelessly in bringing violent offenders involved in knife crime to justice.
“While the causes and drivers of knife crime are complex, early intervention and putting in place measures to tackle the root causes are absolutely essential.
“Policing plays the pivotal role in enforcement activity, but also has a role in supporting communities and local agencies to come together to prevent knife crime. By working together with our partners, we know that we can be more effective, responsive and ultimately improve people’s lives.
“Operation Sceptre builds on the work we already do with partners like Border Force and Trading Standards to stop the flow of illegal and dangerous knives that end up in the hands of our young people.
“This activity forms part of our wider, ongoing work with the Government, schools, health and social services and charities to explore what more we can do as a whole society to tackle knife crime.”
To tell Sussex Police about knife crime please report online or call 101, we will treat information you give us sensitively. In an emergency always dial 999.