Op Sceptre: National Week of Action to Tackle Knife Crime
Main article content
Coordinated by the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) Operation Sceptre is a national week of action which runs from 16th – 22nd May and brings all 43 police forces and British Transport Police together for a coordinated period of intensification to tackle knife crime, a large contributor to violent crime in the UK.
As part of the week-long operation, people are being encouraged to leave unwanted knives in amnesty bins at police station front counters and at some recycling centres across North Wales.
Inspector Wesley Williams of North Wales Police said: “We must ensure that we are doing everything we can to reinforce the message that carrying a knife is unacceptable and that no good can come from carrying one.
“Every incident involving a knife has consequences for all those involved, and so this is an issue we take extremely seriously.
“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 everyone to take the opportunity to rid yourselves of any unwanted or illegal weapons by taking them to our knife amnesty bins which are located at our police station front counters.
“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.
He added: “Whilst the causes and drivers of knife crime are complex, early intervention and putting in place measures to tackle the root causes are absolutely essential. We are committed to taking a collaborative approach to tackle knife crime across north Wales and we will continue to build on the already successful work with our partners and communities.
“Retailers have an important role to play in tackling knife crime by ensuring that knives are not falling into the wrong hands. With this, officers will be visiting local retail stores to “knowledge check” staff regarding the sales of knives and the ‘Challenge 25 ID’ approach.”
A large part of the police’s work is out in communities and schools; educating young people on the impact that knives can have not just on individuals, but on families and communities through education programmes such as SchoolBeat. This work will continue throughout the week with School Community Police Officers vising schools and colleges to highlight the risks and consequences of carrying a knife.
Inspector Williams added: “We are also asking parents, guardians and extended family members, to talk to young family members about knife crime as you can play a vital role in preventing them from becoming involved. We advise you try and talk to them openly about the dangers, as well as the life-changing consequences that come from carrying a knife.
“We are grateful for the support from our partners and communities and together, we will continue to work towards removing knives and dangerous weapons and bring those responsible, for carrying and using them, to justice.”
Changes to legislation brought about by the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 means that it is now an offence to possess certain items such as knuckledusters, throwing stars and zombie knives, even in private.
Other sections of the act include an updated definition of flick knives to reflect changes in weapon designs, and the banning of private possession of flick knives and gravity knives.
If you have concerns about someone you know or care about, who is carrying or hiding a knife call the Police on 101 or CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or the Fearless campaign website https://www.fearless.org/en/give-info . Always dial 999 in an emergency.
Unwanted knives can be disposed of in special amnesty bins which are permanently placed at the following police station front counters:
Amnesty bins will also be located at Mochdre, Abergele, Rhyl, Denbigh and Ruthin Recycling Centres for safe disposal of knives.
Social media users can follow the campaign via the #OpSceptre hashtag