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145 knives recovered during week of action to tackle knife crime in Avon and Somerset

Last week, officers from Avon and Somerset Police took part in Operation Sceptre, a national week of action which sees police across the country intensify efforts to reduce the number of knives on our streets.

Key highlights and successes of the operation include:

  • 32 weapons sweeps resulting in the recovery of 16 knives
  • 127 knives surrendered to 14 bins across the force area
  • 82 retailers visited in the largest test purchase operation Avon and Somerset Police have ever carried out, to check retailers’ compliance with the law prohibiting the sale of knives to under 18s. 22 stores failed and sold a knife to a child. They have been, or will be, issued guidance and warning notices from officers
  • 22 community meetings and educational visits to schools and youth groups including delivery of the Blunt Truth workshop – a collaboration with our NHS partners
  • 20 intelligence led high visibility patrols in areas of high demand
  • Six community leaflet drops informing about the change to the Offensive Weapons Act – making items that were previously legal to possess in private now illegal
  • Social media campaign with a reach of 150k impressions, using pop up ads in specific apps targeting 12-25yr olds, signposting them to anonymous knife crime reporting via Fearless.org

Avon and Somerset Police’s lead for knife crime, Chief Inspector James Turner said: “There are now 145 fewer knives that could be used to cause serious harm on our streets,  as a direct result of last week’s operation

“Of course, our work to tackle knife crime goes on all year round. There’s number of projects and areas of focus we are pursuing as we head into 2022, including working with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and local communities to consider where and how we can make more knife surrender bins available.  We’re also upscaling the delivery of our Blunt Truth workshops so that more schools and community groups in Avon and Somerset can benefit from this fantastic project.

“The causes of knife crime are complex and multi-faceted. The results of last week’s operation show that enforcement does have a strong role to play in making our streets safer.  Alongside this, we continue to work with our communities and other partners to pursue a multiagency approach based on early intervention and diversion, so that young people don’t get mixed up in activity which could lead to them or their friends coming to serious harm.”

For more information about our approach to tackling knife crime and serious violence, as well as locations of our knife surrender bins and details of support services, visit www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/knifecrime