OPERATION SCEPTRE, a week-long initiative orchestrated to tackle knife crime, began on Monday 15 November. All 43 police forces in England and Wales and the British Transport Police signed up to take part in efforts designed to crack down on knife-enabled crime and violence.
The week of action sees an intensification of work that takes place across the UK day in, day out to tackle knife crime. It gives ;police forces an opportunity to focus on the different strands of education, engagement, prevention and enforcement, all of which are particularly important in playing a part when it comes to reducing knife crime.
Engaging with retailers, youth groups and charities is an important part of the week. Policing is working to target the root causes of knife crime, with early intervention aiming to stop those intent on carrying a knife. Work with youth groups and charities is a vital part of a communities-led policing response.
Forces will continue to work closely with young people to further understand the reasons why individuals carry knives and also to educate them around the dangers and illegality of carrying such weapons.
Most importantly, perhaps, the week of action aims to highlight that there are no positives to carrying a knife.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty, the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s lead for knife crime, said: “Knife crime can have a devastating impact on families and communities. On that basis, police forces are working night and day to tackle this problem. Operation Sceptre offers us the chance to work across all forces to concentrate our efforts in tackling knife crime, which is a significant contributor of violence in the UK.”
McNulty continued: “The week will focus on many different areas, including education, engagement and prevention. This is a system-wide approach and one we work closely with our partners on in order to achieve. We’re asking all forces to intensify the efforts that take place all year round in making sure that knives are off the streets, thereby potentially saving lives.”
Further, he stated: “We want those who may be carrying a knife out of fear to come forward and speak with police officers or an adult whom they can trust such as a youth worker, a teacher at school or charity workers. Alternatively they can telephone Crimestoppers. We want to help young people leave the cycle of violence and stop the devastation caused to them and their families due to knife crime.”
During the week of action, knife arches, honesty bins and officers doing weapons sweeps will all be commonplace ad the police service works to remove knives and prevent serious violence from occurring on the streets.