Leicestershire officers have completed a week-long operation to target those carrying weapons and engaged with hundreds of people.
Operation Sceptre, which started on March 11, was part of national activity designed to deter and detect the carrying of knives and saw 20 arrests.
Officers carried out 24 stop and searches which, along with arrests, recovered 15 knives while surrender bins at Keyham Lane, Spinney Hill, Market Harborough and Mansfield House police stations saw nearly 50 knives handed in.
Officers conducted knife sweeps across the city and county, recovering two from Redwood Walk in Leicester.
Knife arches at various locations including Leicester and Loughborough train stations along with Bede Park in Spinney Hill and Aikman Avenue, New Parks, Leicester, saw hundreds of people pass through them.
In addition, officers visited 22 Habitual Knife Carriers (HKCs) over the week to talk to them about changing their behaviour and offer them diversion opportunities and information to parents. They also delivered a number of presentations to primary and secondary school children on top of those given by the Youth Services throughout the week.
Alongside this, officers also executed five warrants in South Leicester and one in West Leicester neighbourhood policing areas on Friday 15 March, which recovered some imitation firearms and drugs.
One 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of modern day slavery and public order offences as well as burglary. He has been released under investigation.
Sergeant Nick Woodrow, knife crime coordinator for Leicestershire Police, helped lead the operation.
He said: “Operation Sceptre forms just one part of our on-going work to detect and prevent knife crime and ultimately reduce the number of people choosing to carry a knife. Officers successfully recovered a number of weapons through their hard work.
“Our aim, as always, is to ensure our streets remain safe. This week of intensification is just one element of what we do along with our partners and I’m pleased that our visits to those we consider to be habitual knife carriers, has resulted in at least one referral to a local peer education scheme.”
Superintendent Shane O’Neill, who leads the force’s response to knife crime, said: “We believe that a partnership approach is the best way to reduce knife crime. We will continue to use our powers of arrest alongside educating people to stop carrying a knife as part of the force’s #LivesNotKnives campaign which is supported by many. Of the hundreds of people we engaged with throughout this operation, only a small proportion were found to be carrying a knife and we are dedicated to tackling those who do.
“It is vital that anyone who has concerns about an individual carrying a weapon knows that advice is available on our website and that there are trusted adults they can talk to.”
Lord Willy Bach added: “The work to tackle knife crime does not stop at the end of a week of action. Every day and using a multitude of approaches, the police and partners do everything they can to apprehend those carrying knives, to educate people that carrying a knife is not clever, or safe. They seek to arrest those who have used knives to cause harm and they provide support to those unfortunate enough to become victims of knife crime.
“Last week I revealed the projects who have been awarded money from my £100,000 knife crime fund. I have every confidence that they will make a real difference, just as Operation Sceptre has made a real difference. But there is more to be done. As this week has proved, the will is there but we need appropriate resources to support the many effective initiatives out there, which are suffering from the funding cuts of recent years.”
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Source:: Leicestershire Police News