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Knife crime awareness campaign highlights dangers of carrying weapons

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We’re highlighting the issue of knife crime as part of a national campaign.

The latest Operation Sceptre, spearheaded by the Met Police, runs between September 15 and September 23 and looks at tackling knife crime across the country.

Locally, we will be carrying out a number of activities to raise awareness of the dangers carrying knives and the impact of knife crime, while also trying to better understand why people carry knives, particularly on a night out.

We’ll be carrying out special operations at a number of bars and clubs across our force area on Friday and Saturday night (September 21 and 22)

We want to talk to club-goers about their experiences and give them the confidence to report if they see or know someone carrying a knife on a night out.

And we want people who may think about taking a knife with them when they leave the house to understand the devastating consequences it can have not just on them but their friends and family too.

We’ll be carrying out surveys to understand how widespread the problem is, giving advice and using knife wands as part of the operation.

Throughout the week officers will use intelligence-led tactics, weapons sweeps and high-visibility patrols to target and disrupt offenders who carry and use knives. This is part of ongoing work with partners to tackle knife crime and associated gang activity.

And we’ll be urging anyone who may be carrying a knife, or has unwanted ones to hand them in at one of our surrender bins.
There are permanent bins that are at the following locations:

• Patchway Custody Centre
• The Bridewell Police Station
• Bridgwater Police Station
• Keynsham Custody Centre

We also have a temporary bin at Redbridge House in Bath where you can surrender a knife anonymously - please note the enquiry desk is still in Lewis House and all enquiries should be directed there.

Knife crime continues to blight our communities, as offences in our force area increased by 52% year-on-year between 2016/17 and 2017/18 from 1,201 to 1,835.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “The repercussions of knife crime are vast with devastating effects on loved ones, families and the whole community.

“I am happy that Avon and Somerset Police is taking an active role this week, although the level of knife crime in the area is low it’s important to disrupt criminal activity and take as many knives off our streets as possible.

“We must not be complacent about this issue and it is in our best interest to be pro-active and work with partner organisations to engage people with the message that knives cost lives.”

Force lead for knife crime Chief Inspector Zoe Chegwyn added: “Since October 2016 when we first introduced surrender bins in our force area, some 927 knives have been surrendered in total.

“Every knife surrendered is one less knife out on the street, where they can and do cause serious harm.

“We have seen some shocking machetes and zombie knives left in the bins which are usually only carried by people wanting to seriously hurt others.

“Despite this, the stats show that the message isn’t getting through that people who carry a weapon are more likely to be hospitalised themselves with an injury caused by violence.

“That is why we will continue to work hard to raise awareness of the dangers of carrying knives and engage with our communities.

“As well as surrender bins, our work in schools is on-going, with local officers regularly delivering hard hitting workshops which really bring home the impact knives can have not just on individuals, but on families and communities. We need to understand why young people are carrying knives and work to dispel the myth that knives are somehow cool.

“We also want to let young people know that if they are worried that someone they know is carrying a knife, but are nervous about talking to the police, that they can contact Fearless (The Crimestoppers youth arm) anonymously and potentially help to save a life.”

You can find out more about the national knife-crime awareness campaign at knifefree.co.uk or search #knifefree on Twitter.

Posted on Monday 17th September 2018
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