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Cheshire Constabulary to support national operation to cut out county-wide knife crime

This week Cheshire Constabulary will be supporting a national campaign aimed at keeping knives off the streets by directly targeting knife carriers as well as educating young people about the dangers and impact of choosing to carry a blade.

Starting today, Monday 13 May, and running to Sunday 19 May, Cheshire Constabulary will be supporting fellow forces across the country in partaking in Operation Sceptre - a national effort aiming to reduce the impact of knife crime in our communities.

Out of the 42 national police forces in England and Wales, Cheshire is the ninth lowest force in terms of knife crime. However, Cheshire Police have seen a 5.9% increase in knife-related offences in the 12 months to March 2024 compared to the previous year.

This figure is partially the result of our officers’ continued proactive stop and search approach – meaning there has been an increase in the number of people arrested for possessing bladed weapons, which in turn has helped to remove illegal weapons from Cheshire's streets.

The force remains determined to reduce the number of knives carried across the county, with efforts in tackling knife crime being intensified through enforcement and engagement initiatives that will be held across the county’s seven main regions during the week of action.

Activities during the week-long operation will include community knife sweeps, the execution of warrants in relation to knife crime, engagement in the community, knife surrender bins being deployed across the region, and the stepping up of patrols in hotspot areas.

The county's retailers also have a crucial role to play and during Operation Sceptre week, our officers will be conducting test purchase operations to ensure that potentially lethal weapons are not falling into the wrong hands.

We will also be educating those who need it on the laws, security measures and verification schemes required when it comes to the purchasing of blades.

Superintendent Andrew Blizard, the Constabulary's lead for Knife Crime, said:

“In the past 12 months we have seen that crime involving knives has become a growing issue on the national stage, so participating in Operation Sceptre is an excellent opportunity for us to highlight the outstanding work our officers put in daily to keep Cheshire weapons-free.

“We are particularly proud that, when compared to our fellow home forces, knife crime in Cheshire remains low; but we are seeing a considerable number of people across the county in possession of knives and bladed weapons. This is something that we as a force will not tolerate.

“By carrying a knife, you are much more likely to be involved in knife crime and it is only a matter of time before you, or someone else, sustains a life-changing, or even fatal, injury.

“Over the course of this week, we will also be working with our partner organisations, including local authorities, charities, third-sector organisations, youth representatives and community groups as we continue to keep Cheshire a hostile environment for anyone who chooses to pick up a blade."

To celebrate the launch of Operation Sceptre week, the Constabulary is also proud to announce that we will be launching a partnership with Warrington Wolves Rugby Club.

Over the next week, Warrington residents can expect to see members of the team's squad out across the town with officers, engaging with members of the local community, visiting youth organisations, and engaging with young people at schools and colleges. 

Knife surrender bins will also be placed across the town, including one which will be placed outside of the Wolves’ home at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, for members of the community to voluntarily relinquish any unwanted knives or bladed articles.

Superintendent Adam Ross, Northern Area Commander for Warrington, said:

"This week of action, which is the start of a long-running collaboration between Cheshire Police and Warrington Wolves that will incorporate other aspects of community engagement and policing, is an opportunity to bring our partners together in the delivering of the message that no one needs to carry a knife to feel safe or protected on our streets. 

“Working with the Wolves will allow us to increase engagement and strengthen our relationship with the local community throughout Warrington, including with the younger generation. Over the next week, members of the Wolves team will be joining my officers on visits to schools, colleges and youth organisations to increase their engagement and build relationships with the police. 

"When it comes to issues as serious as knife crime, it is so important that everyone feels that they can come forward to us with any issues, so we can take immediate action.”

Continuing the legacy of the Knife Angel project that visited the town last year, Crewe Local Policing Unit have been working with Crewe Town Council, the Safer Cheshire East Partnership and other partner organisations in securing the hosting of the Anti-Violence Bee Monument.

The six-metre-long statue, which was originally commissioned by Greater Manchester Police, currently stands in Memorial Square and is made up of thousands of weapons that have been voluntarily handed over to police and will serve as a poignant memorial to those who have lost their lives to both knife and violently-aggravated crime.

The Anti-Violence Bee will provide an opportunity to educate children, young people and adults about the harmful effects of violent and aggressive behaviour and officers from the LPU will be working alongside their local partners in producing a programme of activities across May.

Some of these events include community and youth engagement, with officers delivering safety talks, self-defence classes and gang culture workshops at schools across the town.

Inspector Cliff Goodwin, of Crewe Neighbourhood Policing Team, added:

“Having the Anti-violence Bee here in Crewe is a real honour. Its presence not only represents our continued zero-tolerance towards violence and threatening behaviour of any kind in Crewe, but it also highlights the outstanding efforts from our neighbourhood teams in deterring violent incidents across our town and keeping residents safe.

"During the Bee’s stay, residents can expect to see the deployment of knife arches funded by our Safer Streets partnership, knife sweeps across different areas of Crewe, the regular deployment of detection dogs, engagement in the community, surrender bins and regular patrols around hotspot areas."

To report any type of crime involving weapons, call Cheshire Constabulary on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

Anyone who knows someone that carries a knife can report it to Crimestoppers anonymously on:

0800 555 111

...or via: 

https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/forms/give-information-anonymously

Information can also be passed to the force online via: 

https://www.cheshire.police.uk/ro/report.

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