Operation Sceptre – targeting knives and knife crime in Sussex

The campaign to take and keep knives off Sussex streets continues with a second specific focused week of activities.

Operation Sceptre running between September 16-20, supports the work Sussex Police carry out all year round to ensure residents are safe from knife crime in their communities.

Originally started by the Metropolitan Police Service, Operation Sceptre is a twice-yearly run campaign that aims to tackle the danger that knife crime poses by educating those most at risk and carrying out proactive work that takes knives off our streets.

Inspector Simon Burroughs said: “We are keenly aware of how much focus there is on knife crime at the moment and in recent weeks, we have had incidents that have led to people being injured, sometimes seriously. We now need everyone to help in keeping our county safe.

“Operation Sceptre gives us a chance to talk about knife crime in a realistic and open fashion: we want to give young people the chance to stay safe, we do not want to demonise them. It is imperative we remind them they have choices in life, and that help is out there if they do not feel safe.

“Talk to the young people in your life, drop off your dangerous and unwanted blades to our knife amnesty bins and if you need to talk to someone anonymously, Crimestoppers can be reached on 0800 555 111. As always, you can report crime online or via 101. In an emergency, always call 999.”

This week, Prevention Officers across the district have been visiting schools and colleges to speak to groups of young adults about the dangers of carrying a knife, and the consequences it can have, on not only them, but their friends and families.

These talks will continue and be extended to after school/youth groups across the district in the coming weeks.

As well as the educational side, targeted patrols will take place across the county, including at transport hubs with officers working alongside British Transport Police colleagues. Other prioritised activity includes target stop and search, particularly against known habitual knife carriers, and test purchase operations.

Across the Lewes district this week we have been joined by teams of volunteers from within the community to conduct knife sweeps and searches in local public spaces, areas including parks and large grounds across Newhaven, Lewes, and Seaford – a small number of weapons have already been found and will be safely destroyed.

There is also a knife amnesty where people are encouraged to drop off their dangerous or unwanted knives and blades at police stations across Sussex. These amnesty bins are in place all year round, and there will be no consequences if weapons are disposed of safely here. Knife amnesty bins are located at the following stations: Lewes, Seaford, Newhaven, Uckfield, Eastbourne and Brighton.

Lewes, Seaford and Newhaven front offices are all open between the hours of 10am and 2pm Monday to Friday, with both Eastbourne and Brighton open on Saturdays.

Test purchasing will be carried out throughout Sussex, where officers, PCSOs and cadets will mystery shop to see which premises allow them to buy knives without their age being asked for.

The week is being supported by Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne. She said: “Getting killed, having life changing injuries or a prison sentence because of knife crime are not choices anybody would rationally make. However, we are still seeing far too many young people putting themselves at risk by carrying a knife.

“This is why our Reboot programme is working across Sussex to tackle serious violence at its earliest stages and is already providing invaluable support to nearly 400 vulnerable young people.

“As part of this we are educating them on the dangers of criminality and how to recognise when they are being exploited. By doing so, I hope to stop young people having their lives ruined by knife crime or any other form of criminality.”