Cumbria Police Join Anti-Knife Campaign

11 March 2019, 05:46 | Updated: 11 March 2019, 05:47

Knives handed into Cumbria Police

With knife crime in the spotlight, Cumbria Police has started a week-long amnesty.

Anyone can give up a blade at stations, including Kendal and Barrow, without fear of being arrested for possession.

The force is also undertaking a week of action against violent offenders.

Superintendent Mark Pannone is leading the initiative in Cumbria. He said: “Operation Sceptre has been a success every time it has been held in Cumbria, with many potentially dangerous blades handed in to police.

“Those potential weapons can no longer be used to hurt anybody.

“In these recent surrender periods we have seen large numbers of people take the chance to make their communities safer by handing in knives.

“Fortunately, in Cumbria we do not have a specific knife crime culture and we continue to see a lower number of incidents than in other areas of the UK.

“However, we take the issue extremely serious.

“There are people who will use knives as part of criminality and this will not be tolerated.”

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “I appreciate that a knife surrender is nothing new but, with this one, I really want to remind people about the appalling violence and knife crime we have seen in London and other large cities in the last year, resulting in the loss of too many young lives.

“We do not want to see this in Cumbria so I would ask people to think hard about this knife surrender; not just for yourself but also to bring it to the attention of anyone you may know who has a weapon which could potentially take a life - and see the person using it destroy their own lives by being locked away for a long time.

“There is no excuse and no sympathy for anyone going onto the streets with a knife.

“If you are arrested and found guilty of carrying an offensive weapon in public, you can be sentenced, with up to four years in prison.

“Operation Sceptre is an opportunity to avoid temptation and the risk of getting into very serious trouble by handing weapons into the police to be disposed of safely - please take it.”

Supt Pannone said work is carried out regularly to reduce the impact of knife crime and inform people about the dangers: “Officers and community support officers hold sessions with schools and youth groups to educate young people on the danger of knives,” he added.

“Every knife that is handed in to police is one less knife that can be used to hurt somebody – or worse.

“I would encourage anyone who has a knife that they want to safely dispose of to take this opportunity to do so.”

Knife surrender bins will be available at the following police stations between the below times:

· Carlisle (Durranhill) - from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 8pm on the Sunday;

· Penrith (Hunter Lane) - from 9am to 1pm, Monday to Saturday;

· Workington – from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 8pm on the Sunday;

· Whitehaven – from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday;

· Barrow - from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 8pm on the Sunday;

· Kendal - from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday and Saturday, 8am to 12pm.

Cumbria Constabulary are have also launched an operation to tackle violent crime, warning offenders their actions have consequences.

The week of action will see extra patrols in hotspot areas and officers out-and-about targeting known offenders.

Superintendent Matt Pearman said: “Violent crime is an area of policing that has seen significant media coverage over recent weeks and whilst, fortunately, Cumbria has not seen the levels of serious violence that have been reported elsewhere in the country, we are not complacent and continue to take violent crime extremely seriously.

“This is not solely about responding effectively to incidents of violence but about actively targeting those in our communities who commit violent offences, carry weapons or who are perpetrators of domestic abuse.

“It’s also really important that police officers are out-and-about, where they are able to talk to members of the public so that we can keep community intelligence flowing.

“This is critical to taking violent offenders off the streets.

“People should know that violent actions have consequences for other people – and for themselves, with the prospect of a court appearance and even prison awaiting them.”

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: "The whole country will have been shocked by the appalling and tragic deaths of young people in other parts of the country as a result of violent knife crime.

“It is important that we do not respond irrationally to these tragedies, but equally we must do all we can to prevent this sort of crime in Cumbria.

“As a society I believe we must be united in making it clear that violent crime is unacceptable, there are no excuses for carrying weapons, our communities should not live in fear and it will not be tolerated.

“The police in Cumbria have my full support to continue to deal robustly with those who engage in violent crime.

“There is no place in society for such despicable acts and we should all be committed to doing everything we can to prevent violence and to keep our communities safe.

“This means that parents, friends, teachers, anyone who comes into contact with young people, should be aware of what our young people are up to.

“If you suspect that they may be being drawn into violent crime or any crime, you have a duty to prevent the situation escalating and potentially ending in tragedy, report it to the police or Crimestoppers, you may save a life.

“The devastation of violent crime is often tragic and can leave families, friends and communities suffering, it also destroys the life of the perpetrator; there are no winners.

“People should be able to go about their daily lives without fearing violence, crime or anti-social behaviour and anyone who engages in this sort of behaviour should be clear that they will be dealt with robustly and I welcome the forces' action to make these points very clear.

“The police cannot solve these issues on their own. If we genuinely want to keep our county one of the safest places in the country, we - the public - must work with the police to prevent all types of violence in Cumbria.

“I urge anyone with information about any type of crime to please play your part and contact the police, you might prevent a tragedy and you will certainly be helping to keep Cumbria safe."