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A baseball bat and several knives were among weapons discovered during weapon sweeps as part of Operation Sceptre. All last week we carried 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. As part of the operation we used intelligence-led tactics, weapons sweeps and high-visibility patrols to target and disrupt offenders who carry and use knives. The photo shows the weapons discovered following a search in Castle Park in Bristol. All were concealed within the park. Officers had positive conversations with local park users and were happy to show them the items recovered while explaining why they were carrying out their work. Weapons were also found in Royal Victoria Park and St James Park. On Friday and Saturday night we surveyed 100 people about their experience of knife crime at various venues across our force area. The responses will help us better understand the problem and why people carry a knife on a night out and allowed us to give advice and reassurance to members of the public. We also conducted searches at the clubs and bars alongside door staff – no weapons were found. And throughout the week we encouraged people to hand in unwanted knives at one of permanent surrender bins at: • Patchway Custody Centre • The Bridewell Police Station • Bridgwater Police Station • Keynsham Custody Centre
Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “This campaign really shows the importance of raising awareness of knife crime and having those very important conversations with our young people and children and grandchildren. “Knives cost lives and we’ve got to be really clear on the potential harm they have on our streets and in our communities. While the level of knife crime within Avon and Somerset is low, it’s important we keep it that way with weeks of action like this, where the police can disrupt criminal activity and take as many knives off our streets as possible.” Force lead for knife crime Chief Inspector Zoe Chegwyn said: “It was great to see so many people engage with us over the weekend. “It’s vital we continue to spread the message that people who carry a weapon are more likely to be hospitalised themselves with an injury caused by violence. “We want to understand why anyone would choose to carry a knife on a night out and encourage their friends to report it as their actions could save a life. “Our weapon sweeps showed that there are still those who are determined to use weapons to cause violence and harm in our community and we will not tolerate this. “Offenders now actively hide these weapons to avoid being caught in possession when stopped, and so these sweeps are vital in disrupting this. “Taking these knives off the streets means they cannot do serious harm. We also hope as many people as possible took the opportunity to hand in unwanted knives into one of our surrender bins. “While this week-long operation highlighted the dangers of knife-crime, our work will continue throughout the year in tackling this blight on our community.” If you’re a young person and worried that someone you know is carrying a knife, but are nervous about talking to the police, you 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.