Sussex Police are intensifying its ongoing activities in tackling knife crime and violence as part of the national week of action launching today (26 April).
Operation Sceptre bolsters the work undertaken by Sussex police all year round to help keep residents safe from knife-related harm in their local communities. The campaign will focus on key themes such as prevention and education and officers will carry out targeted operations alongside partner agencies.
Sussex is a safe place to live, however, putting aside significant falls in violence during lockdown periods, offences involving knives have been rising in recent years in line with the national picture.
Superintendent Stu Hale said: “Reducing knife crime and knife possession is a key priority for Sussex Police and we are determined to take harmful items off our streets.
“Operation Sceptre is an opportunity to have vital conversations with the public around knife crime. Our message is clear: carrying a knife is dangerous and does not make you safer, it puts you at more risk of coming to harm.
“As part of our week of action we’re carrying out educational activities, amnesty and targeted operations to raise awareness among at-risk groups and disrupt crime in action.
“This week intensifies our year-round tactics to address knife crime by engaging with young people in schools, using our knife crime engagement van and our work with partners to ensure people are signposted to help at an early opportunity.
“We also work hard to target disrupt prolific offenders, through teams such as the Special Enforcement Unit, Tactical Enforcement Unit through days of action.”
This week, police will work closely with Border Force to monitor attempts to import weapons and will also work locally with schools and community members offering engagement and prevention advice to young people.
Officers will continue to work closely with retailers and Trading Standards, including retailers that operate online, to ensure weapons are kept off our streets.
Other tactics during the week of action will include targeted high visibility and plain-clothes patrols across the county. Activity also includes target stop and search against habitual knife carriers and previous offenders and weapon sweeps by police officers.
As always, knife amnesty bins where people can safely dispose of dangerous or unwanted knives and blades at police stations across Sussex, no questions asked.
National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for knife crime, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty, said: “Coronavirus has been a huge part of everyone’s lives for over a year now but we want to remind people that our normal policing role hasn’t stopped during this time.
“Forces are determined to tackle violent crime and with the restrictions easing, taking knives off our streets and helping people understand the dangers of carrying a knife remains a top priority.
“Operation Sceptre brings forces together and highlights that we will be united in doing everything possible to stop those intent on causing serious violence.”
To tell Sussex Police about knife crime please report online or call 101, we will treat information you give us sensitively. In an emergency always dial 999.
If you are a parent or carer and you are concerned someone you care for is in danger of becoming a victim of knife crime, try to talk with them in the first instance or seek advice from Family Lives on 0808 800 22 22.