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Nearly 5000 young people in Avon and Somerset educated on the dangers of carrying knives during Operation Sceptre

Officers in Bath carrying out a weapons sweep to uncover hidden weapons
Officers in Bath carrying out a knife sweep last week

Last week, we intensified our efforts to reduce the harm and impact of knife crime, by taking part in Operation Sceptre, a national initiative we’ve been involved with since 2016.

Our officers were out in your communities removing weapons from the streets, arresting wanted offenders, ensuring retailers were complying with the law around the sale of knives to children and educating young people on the dangers and consequences of carrying knives.

Highlights from last week’s operational activity include:

  • 61 schools and other youth settings visited, reaching nearly 5000 young people, to educate them on the dangers of carrying knives
  • 102 retailers visited to ensure compliance with the law around the sale of knives to under 18s
  • 253 knives surrendered to our bins
  • 7 weapons sweeps conducted resulting in the recovery of 2 knives
  • 8 stop searches conducted resulting in the recovery of 5 knives
  • 35 additional high visibility patrols carried out in areas of high demand for serious violence

Avon and Somerset Police’s lead for knife crime, Inspector Mike Vass said: “There are now over 250 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. I’m delighted that we now have more knife surrender bins across Avon and Somerset than ever before, and we are working proactively with local communities to identify areas away from police premises that would benefit from an additional bin.

“We’ve been working with our partners in the NHS and the Daniel Baird Foundation to obtain and install life-saving bleed control kits, which are currently being rolled out across 150 locations in Avon and Somerset. When calling 999 in the event of a stabbing, call handlers will direct the caller to the nearest kit with a password. The kits, which contain everything needed to increase the chances of survival whilst waiting for an ambulance, will be installed in locations that currently hold a defibrillator.

“These kits are helping us further limit the impact of knife crime by making sure victims can receive vital first aid treatment as quickly as possible.”

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford said: “Operation Sceptre is a fantastic opportunity to reinforce the laws to retailers on selling knives to children as well as educating our communities on the dangers and life changing consequences of carrying a knife.

“Preventing serious violence, including knife crime, continues to be a priority for my office and Avon and Somerset Police.

“The dedicated Violence Reduction Units (VRU) across Avon and Somerset are carrying out vital work to support young adults who are vulnerable and at risk of becoming involved in serious violence. It is essential that we continue to provide young people with these VRU interventions to prevent involvement in knife crime and, when needed, the police the capability to use robust enforcement to deter young people from criminal activity.”

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