Police crackdown on knife crime

11 March 2019, 14:46 | Updated: 11 March 2019, 14:48

A&S Police

Avon and Somerset Police are taking part in a week of action to reduce the number of knives on our streets.

Knife surrender bins have been set up at a number of places for people to hand them in anonymously, while officers have also been visiting shops to remain workers about the laws around selling knives to young people.

This weekend officers will be working with pubs and clubs in Bristol, Bath and Weston, speaking to customers about the risks of carrying knives and supporting door staff with entry searches.

Chief Inspector Zoe Chegwyn, who leads on knife crime for Avon and Somerset Police said: ''The Op Sceptre weeks of action are an important time in our calendar, as we can really focus on enforcement activity which has a direct impact on the number of knives on our streets, where they can and do cause serious harm.

''By using a range of tactics and approaches, we can visibly show communities the ways in which we are working to reduce the impact of knives on people’s lives.

''The government’s Serious Violence Strategy is clear that police enforcement alone is not going to stop knife crime; we must take a holistic approach and work alongside other agencies in health, local government, the charitable sector and local communities to understand the reasons that young people are arming themselves in this way, and how we can prevent and reduce this.

''I want to stress that our educational work with young people is on-going and not just limited to our weeks of action. However, we will step it up this week in schools and youth clubs, with local officers delivering hard hitting workshops which really bring home the impact knives can have not just on individuals, but on families and communities.

''We also want to let young people know that if they are worried that someone they know is carrying a knife, but are nervous about talking to the police, that they can contact Fearless (The Crimestoppers youth arm) anonymously and potentially help to save a life.”

Avon and Somerset has seen a 52 per cent increase in reports of knife related crime in a twelve month period (from July 2018). From April 17 to April 18 there were 1835 incidents compared with 1201 incidents from April 16 – April 17 which is an increase of 634 crimes. Only incidents related to the public carrying or using of a knife are included. Other offences where a knife was used, for example in Domestic Incidents (both family and partner relationships), are not included in these figures.

In the last twelve months (Jan – Dec 2018) there were 538 knife related crimes which resulted in an injury which equates to seven per cent of total knife-related crime reported.

Permanent surrender bins are now in place in the following locations:

Bridewell Police Custody Centre - Bristol
Patchway Police Custody Centre - South Glos
Keynsham Police Custody Centre - BANES
Bridgwater Police Custody Centre - Somerset
Weston-Super-Mare Town Hall - North Somerset

Further temporary surrender bins will be in place for the duration of the operation at:

Frome police post in the town centre - Somerset
Broadbury Road Police Station - Bristol
Trinity Road Police station - Bristol
Bristol Magistrates Court
Bristol Crown Court