This week North Wales Police is joining police forces up and down the country to support Operation Sceptre – a week-long national campaign aimed at tackling knife crime.
Taking place between 26th April and 2nd May, Operation Sceptre will see police forces highlighting the risks that carrying a bladed weapon can bring, as well as targeting offenders who use and carry knives in the area.
North Wales Police are also giving the opportunity for people to surrender any unwanted knives and blades safely at special amnesty bins located at police station front counters. Similar bins will be placed at a number of recycling centres for people who do not feel comfortable attending a police station.
Knife crime is any crime that involves a knife whether it is used or not and some examples include:
Carrying a knife
Threatening someone with a knife
Intending to hurt someone with a knife
Using a knife to injure or kill someone
Thieves carrying knives during a robbery or burglary
The involvement of a knife or knives in gang-related offences
Someone under 18 trying to buy a knife
Across north Wales officers will be carrying out a variety of policing activity including stop searches, liaising with shops who sell knives – asking them how they challenge anybody who they believe to be under 18-years-old and ensuring that any knives are being displayed in a safe, secure and appropriate manner.
Officers from the North Wales Police Schoolbeat programme will be raising awareness of knife crime during some of their lessons – including delivering their Tricked and Trapped input on County Lines, educating young people on how to spot the signs of exploitation. The lessons also address how they or their friends could be drawn into a life of crime by drug gangs.
Sergeant Darren Kane, Operation Sceptre Coordinator for North Wales said: “Whilst the vast majority of people don't carry knives or get involved with knife crime, we are working hard, with partner agencies, to tackle knife crime offences that do occur and help prevent them from happening in the first place.
“Knives are dangerous and there is no place for them on the streets of north Wales. Carrying knives or other weapons do not keep you safe. By carrying a knife you are putting yourself in much greater danger, and more likely to become involved in a violent situation and get injured yourself.
“We also want to raise awareness that even carrying a knife in a public place can result in a maximum prison sentence of four years, depending on the circumstances, and there is a minimum sentence of six months if you are found carrying one more than once.
“Getting a criminal record can affect the rest of your life, from job prospects to travelling to certain countries.”
North Wales Police are also giving people the opportunity to dispose of any unwanted knives in special amnesty bins which will be placed in police stations in Wrexham, Mold, Rhyl, Llandudno, Colwyn Bay, Bangor, Caernarfon and Holyhead. They can also be taken to recycling centres at Mochdre, Abergele, Rhyl, Denbigh and Ruthin. Please ensure any sharp ends are securely wrapped in a protective material.
Sergeant Kane added: “We take a robust approach to anyone found to be illegally in possession of a knife or bladed article on the streets and I would encourage you to take this opportunity to rid yourselves of any illegal weapons by taking them to any of the named stations.
“We are grateful for the support of our partners and the community and together, we will continue to work towards removing knives and dangerous weapons and bring those responsible, for carrying and using them, to justice.”
If you are worried about someone you know carrying a knife, want to talk to someone about knife crime or ask advice please call 101 - always call 999 in an emergency such as when a crime is in progress and/or someone is in immediate danger.
Social media users can follow the campaign via the #OpSceptre hashtag.