Week of action on knife crime a success in Essex
22 March 2019, 16:17 | Updated: 22 March 2019, 16:19
A week of action on knife crime saw weapons taken off the streets and officers and partners talking to the public about the dangers of carrying knives and how we can tackle the issue as a community.
Police say they deal with knife-related crime every day through a combination of enforcement, engagement and education and last week's national crackdown, Operation Sceptre, last week, built on the work they currently do to tackle serious violence.
Their work during Op Sceptre included looking for hidden weapons, high visibility patrols and intelligence-led stop checks and using knife arches at some of the county's train stations to disrupt criminals using the railway network.
Officers also took part in knife crime awareness events with our community safety partnership colleagues and charities such as Only Cowards Carry, talked to children and young people about the dangers of carrying knives, and worked with Trading Standards teams to raise awareness among shop owners about the law around selling knives and bladed objects.
Only Cowards Carry supplies knife amnesty bins across Essex. Since 2015, they have collected 47,715 knives and weapons.
So far this year, they have collected 4,281.
Assistant Chief Constable Paul Wells said: "We fight knife crime every day and our work during Operation Sceptre was part of our ongoing commitment to tackling violent crime.
"We know some people carry a knife because they think it will keep them safe. But the reality is they are more likely to either use that blade to hurt someone, or it will be used on them.
"Just being found carrying a knife or blade alone could result in a prison term of up to four years.
"I'd ask those people to think about the consequences of carrying a knife, and I'd ask anyone who knows someone who carries a knife to not be afraid to tell us or Crimestoppers.
"The more we can do together as a community to prevent knife crime happening in the first place, the less people there will be whose lives are changed forever by it."
Shani Jackson, of Only Cowards Carry, said: "Count the Blade was launched after we created a pilot a project called The Knife Amnesty in Clacton, placing a temporary amnesty bin to receive knives and or weapons.
"Due to its great success, Count the Blade was introduced and all districts within Essex have now received a secured robust depositary bin.
"To date 47,715 bladed articles have been safely disposed of in the amnesty bins. This in turn contributes to creating safer communities and helps reduce knife related crimes in the community.
"A kitchen knife is seen by most people as a standard kitchen utensil, others may see it as a potential weapon.
"By discarding knives in the correct manner, we can help decrease the use of knives as weapons."