Cheshire Police recover more than 450 knives during week of action

By The Editor

24th May 2024 | Local News

Cheshire has seen a sharp increase in the number of knives taken off its streets following a county-wide campaign tackling knife crime. 

Operation Sceptre, a week-long campaign intensifying efforts in tackling knife crime, ran last week - from Monday 13th May until Sunday 19th May. 

During the week of action, officers from multiple specialist departments from across the Constabulary worked in partnership with residents, community groups and partner organisations in an effort to reduce the impact of knife crime across the county. 

Cheshire is the ninth lowest police force for knife crime incidents in England and Wales, but despite this, the Constabulary has seen a 5.9% increase in knife-related offences in the 12 months to March 2024 compared to the previous year. 

The Constabulary remains determined to reduce the number of knives carried across the county, and this past week efforts in tackling knife crime have been intensified through enforcement and engagement initiatives as the force continues to push towards creating a weapons-free county. 

Superintendent Andy Blizard, Force Knife Crime Lead for Cheshire Constabulary, said: "We are very proud of the fact that when compared to our fellow 42 forces in England and Wales, knife crime in our county remains relatively low. 

"However, in the 12 months to March 2024, we have seen a 5.9% increase in knife-related offences when compared to the previous year. 

"This increase is partially the result of our officers' dedicated and proactive approach toward stop and search. 

"Last week alone we intensified our stop search efforts, with our officers conducting over 140 stop searches; this increase in searches means that more people are being arrested for possessing bladed weapons. 

"Over the course of Operation Sceptre week, we conducted 70 weapons sweeps in parks, towns and residential areas across Cheshire and saw more than 450 knives surrendered to police through knife surrender bins that were placed across the county. 

"We have also seen eight arrests directly related to Op Sceptre activity. 

"These great results are a testament to the excellent proactive police work put in by our dedicated officers and has led to a sizable number of lethal weapons being removed from Cheshire's streets." 

This Operation Sceptre week has also seen some great engagement from our wider Cheshire community and partner organisations. 

Officers from the Constabulary have held over 50 community engagement events, including knife surrender bin events, local surgeries and Beat Meetings, talking to local community residents about how they can work with police to tackle knife crime. 

65 school engagements have also taken place across Cheshire, with officers educating young people about knife crime, gang culture and why no one needs to pick up a blade to feel protected. 

In Crewe, the current home of the Anti-Violence Bee sculpture, officers from the Local Policing Unit have been working Crewe Town Council, the Safer Cheshire East Partnership and their partners in providing a programme of activities during the Bee's residency in the town, in which Operation Sceptre week fell. 

Events at the Bee included free self-defence demonstrations for members of the public, powerful testimonies from victims of knife crime and their families, moments of song and reflection, children's sessions promoting the importance of kindness and non-violence and regular visits from the Safer Streets Bus for members of the community to speak to officers about any concerns or to just charge their phones and grab a bottle of water. 

Superintendent Blizzard added: "Over this past week, we have seen some great examples of community engagement and partner relationship building that, moving forward, will help us in our efforts to promote the idea that Cheshire a hostile environment for anyone who chooses to carry a knife. 

"We have been working with partner organisations, including local authorities, charities, third-sector organisations, youth representatives and community groups in conducting a number of activities. They have included community knife sweeps, outreach and engagement, the deployment of knife surrender bins and knife arches, and visiting over 40 of the county's retailers in test purchase operations to ensure that potentially lethal weapons are not falling into the wrong hands. 

"Knife crime is not an issue police can tackle on their own, which is why engagement between your local policing teams, schools, youth organisations, community groups and businesses alike is incredibly important when it comes to pushing for a wider societal change." 

Last week, the Constabulary also announced that it has launched an ongoing partnership with the Warrington Wolves Rugby Club, who have helped deliver our message of anti-violence and aggression. 

Since the start of the week, officers from Warrington LPU have been out across the town with members of the squad, engaging with the local community, and visiting Warrington's young people at schools and colleges and within youth organisations.  

The squad also kindly agreed to host a knife surrender event at their home at the Halliwell Jones Stadium as well as joining officers for several important safety talks delivered at their Youth Zone. 

To report any type of crime involving weapons, call Cheshire Constabulary on 101 or 999 in an emergency. 

     

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