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10 February 2010, 00:00
195 knives have been handed in during the two-week knife crime awareness campaign in Sudbury which finished on Monday 8th February.
The campaign was aimed at educating people about the consequences of carrying knives and had a number of different strands, including school visits, community engagement, working with licensees to ensure knives are not taken into licensed premises, and a knife amnesty.
Two knife amnesty bins were placed outside Sudbury Police Station and the Stevenson Centre in Great Cornard from Tuesday 19th January. PC Verity Pearson of the Sudbury and Great Cornard Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) says, "We have been extremely pleased with the results of the knife amnesty. During the past two weeks we have collected 188 knives from the bins, of which fifteen were weapons rather than standard kitchen or work knives.
“We have been into both Sudbury and Great Cornard Upper Schools and taken the message to each year group that 'Knives Wreck Lives’. The response from the young people has been overwhelming and several have shown a keen interest in getting involved with the local community in terms of education and spreading the word. The amnesty has exceeded our expectations and whilst the amnesty has come to an end, the education is still very much ongoing."
Metal detecting wands went into use at licensed premises at the weekend, and Police Officers will also continue to use them to search persons they suspect of carrying a knife illegally. It is an offence to carry a bladed or pointed article in a public place and the maximum sentence for this offence is four years imprisonment and/or a fine.
A community engagement exercise run by the SNT and Babergh District Council officers was also very successful. Paul Little, Babergh’s Community Safety Manager says, “What’s been really important about this campaign is that many of the strands have been developed from suggestions that have come from the residents of Babergh; it’s absolutely vital that the Council and Police work with the public to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in our communities. The partnership that is developing with the schools are also of great value, we hope to build on this and continue to work with them on education programmes on a range of other issues.
“The recent public survey has seen a good response, particularly from the joint public engagement initiative in the town centre on Thursday, with close to 300 questionnaires collected.” The questionnaires will be analysed and their results used to inform further work by the Council and SNT. The seized knives will be disposed of safely.