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Operation Sceptre: Avon and Somerset joining forces across the UK to raise awareness of tackling and preventing knife crime in our communities

Avon and Somerset officers in front of a community bleed kit in Keynsham

This week, we are joining other police forces across the UK to raise awareness of the work we do to tackle, disrupt and prevent knife crime as part of Operation Sceptre – a national policing week of action to reduce the harm and effect of knife crime.

In a bid to encourage people not to carry knives or to get involved in serious violence, officers will be carrying out a range of activities throughout the week, including:

  • Education sessions with local schools, colleges and youth groups around the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife
  • Targeted searches of areas where intelligence suggests weapons may be stored or hidden
  • Hosting pop-up information stands to increase awareness and understanding within communities
  • High-visibility patrols in areas of high-demand, deterring those intent on crime or violence
  • Intelligence-led action targeting individuals who are known to be habitual knife carriers
  • Promoting weapon surrender bins across Avon and Somerset
  • Installing further community bleed kits. See existing locations here: Bleed Kit Map | HeartSafe® AED Locator
  • Engaging with retailers and educating them on the safe sale of knives
Officers searching for knives in local park
Officers carrying out knife sweeps during Operation Sceptre

Chief Inspector Mike Vass, Avon and Somerset Police’s Force Lead for Knife Crime, said:

“We know that knife crime is an issue that has affected many people in our communities and is a great cause of concern for many others. Operation Sceptre is an opportunity for us to highlight the work we are doing all year round to tackle serious violence and make our communities safer.

“We cannot police our way out of serious violence. We rely on the support of our partner agencies and organisations across education, health and social care and our communities to help us make a difference.”

As part of the week, our Early Intervention Team and local neighbourhood officers will be hosting a number of education sessions with schools, colleges and youth groups across the region with local Violence Reduction Partnerships. The sessions will focus on myth busting some of the common misconceptions around knife crime, these include:

  • All young people carry knives: In fact 99 per cent of young people do not carry knives
  • There is no safe place to stab someone. Any stab wound can potentially be fatal
  • Carrying a knife means you are more likely to get hurt yourself – people are often wounded by the knife they were carrying themselves
  • It is against the law to carry a knife in a public place. Carrying a knife can lead to four years in prison, even if you have no intention of using it

Chief Inspector Mike Vass continued: “We know that people carry knives for different reasons – some with the intent to cause harm, but many because of the fear, and the misconception that carrying a knife will keep them safe. It doesn’t. You are more likely to come to harm if you are carrying a knife, and being found in possession of one could lead to years in prison. My plea to people would be to please come forward – if you’re carrying a knife because you’re scared, reach out to someone who can help. Don’t let another life be lost as a result of carrying a knife.”

If you are worried that someone you know may be carrying a knife, you can speak to us by calling 101 or using the online reporting form. We have a number of weapon surrender bins across Avon and Somerset where you can safely and anonymously discard any knife or weapon you are carrying. You can find out where these are here: Report the use of knives and weapons | Avon and Somerset Police

If you believe there to be an immediate threat of danger, always call 999 immediately. Alternatively you can send information 100% anonymously to Fearless, which is the dedicated youth service for Crimestoppers. They cannot track where the information has come from and you will not be contacted by the police. You can send information to Fearless using their online form at www.fearless.org or by calling 0800 555 111.