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Week of action on knife crime sees success

Over 170 knives were recovered and nine arrests made across Staffordshire as part of a week of action by police.

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Operation Sceptre, which took place from May 15-21, saw officers in the county intensify their efforts in the fight against knife crime.

They used knife sweeps, detectors in public places and stop searches and promoted knife banks which enable people to surrender them anonymously.

Officers and staff also took part in 35 educational visits as part of the #DitchTheBlade campaign. It has seen 3,000 young people and their parents or carers spoken to about the dangers of carrying a knife and the support services available if they feel pressured to carry one.

Although statistics show 99-per-cent of young people aged 10-20 don't carry a knife, some believe others are carrying one so feel the need to do so. The campaign aims to break through the myths around knife carrying and explain it’s not normal or acceptable to carry a knife.

Chief Inspector Robert Hessell, the force lead for knife crime, said: “It’s vitally important that we continue to encourage conversations around knife crime within our communities.

“This operation builds upon our progress as a partnership to educate young people on the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife and to reduce the number of knives on the streets.

“The majority of young people will never be affected by knife crime, but by encouraging awareness and providing a safe space for the surrender of knives we hope to make our communities a safer place to be.”

Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member responsible for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council said: “Knife crime is a concern for everyone, however, thankfully Staffordshire remains a place where incidents are rare.

“It’s vital that shops selling knives are aware of their responsibilities and our trading standards officers provide advice to ensure this happens. The team also carries out test purchases to ensure knives and other age-restricted products are not being sold to anyone under the age of 18.

“We already have high levels of compliance amongst local retailers which is encouraging and we will continue to work with our partners to ensure this remains the case.”

In April West Midlands Police became one of four forces trialling new powers to tackle knife crime and serious violence. It gave them access to a court order to issue a Serious Violence Reduction Order (SVRO) when an adult is convicted of an offence involving a bladed article or offensive weapon.

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