This week (February 12th to18th) sees the start of a national campaign to tackle knife crime and highlight the risks of carrying a knife. Op Sceptre is a countrywide operation, led by the Metropolitan Police, and aims to reduce the number of people, especially young people, who carry a weapon.
Knife crime in Sussex is low, however carrying a blade is still a reality for some people, many of who are unaware of the repercussions. Get caught with a knife and you could face a prison sentence of up to five years – that’s just for possessing a knife in a public place. If you hurt someone there will be other charges to answer and you could go to prison for longer.
During the week, officers from local policing teams will be carrying out test purchase operations, hotspot patrols, encouraging knife surrenders and arresting outstanding offenders. Alongside Prevention Youth Officers, officers will be looking to engage with young people about the issue and visiting schools and colleges.
Social media will also be used to share hard hitting facts around knife crime, follow #KnivesCostsLives and #OpSceptre and Sussex Police on Snapchat.
Inspector Simon Starns said: “Knife crime can have devastating consequences. Carrying knives or other weapons does not keep you safe. By carrying a knife you are putting yourself and others in much greater danger, and are more likely to become involved in a violent situation. It’s never acceptable for a person to carry a knife or other weapon.
“The police often caution first time offenders for other types of offences but if anyone is involved in an incident where they’re carrying a knife and fear is caused or there is a degree of danger, the premeditated possession of a knife means they are much more likely to be charged. It’s just not worth the risk.
“This week of activity is part of our ongoing commitment to disrupt criminal activity and take as many knives off our streets as possible.”
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne added: “My message to everyone has to be ‘lose the knife, not a life’.
“Knife crime is something that I take very seriously. Its repercussions have devastating effects on families and our wider community.
“I am pleased that Sussex Police is taking an active part in the national campaign, and that Prevention Youth Officers are working with partner organisations to engage with young people and push home this message.
“Although the level of knife crime in Sussex is low, we must not be complacent; and this is why I will continue to monitor crime reports and trends from across the county and, when necessary, press the Chief Constable and senior officers during my webcast accountability meetings to seek assurances that Sussex Police are working proactively with partners to tackle any issues.
“On a national level, I fully support the proposed changes to tighten the law that include restrictions, or a ban, on under-18s being able to purchase knives, and having to collect in person any knives ordered online, so that age can be verified. With my fellow PCCs, I will also be contributing to the Home Secretary’s new strategy to tackle violent crime which will be developed over the coming months.”
Knife amnesty bins are located in the front offices of police stations across the county, and give people the opportunity to dispose of knives and blades safely.
Anyone with information on knife crime should call 101 or report online. In an emergency always dial 999.
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