Staffordshire Police have seized more than 100 knives from across Staffordshire as part of their latest knife crime operation: Operation Sceptre.
The operation, which offers people a safe way of disposing of blades anonymously, ran from 14 November to 27 November this year.
During the campaign, a total of 120 knives were deposited into surrender bins in Burton-upon-Trent, Cannock, Hanley and Longton Police Stations as well as Hanley Fire Station.
They also conducted a series of weapon sweeps and stop-and-searches with partners including local charity Chit Chat 4U. The charity supports parents of those who are victims of or involved in gangs, youth violence and knife crime. The sweeps resulted in seven knives being recovered, as well as four arrests.
The operation also saw Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Trading Standards teams conduct test purchases across Staffordshire, with one store found to have sold a knife to underage individuals, while nine stores successfully refused to allow them to purchase the blades.
Local officers also visited a total of 60 schools to discuss the dangers of carrying a knife and encourage those at risk of knife crime to get help and support.
Chief Inspector Robert Hessell, force lead for knife crime, said: “It’s vitally important that we continue to highlight and encourage conversations around knife crime within our communities.
“This operation was designed to challenge the stereotypes and stigma surrounding knife crime.
“It is usually the case that the majority of young people will never be affected by knife crime, but by encouraging awareness and providing a safe space for people to ditch their blades, we hope we have helped to continue to make our communities are safer place to be.”
Our #DitchTheBlade campaign, which ran alongside Operation Sceptre, continues to serve as a platform for parents, carers, teachers and young people to seek specialist help on the issue of knife crime and ensure we continue to work to tackle this issue across our communities in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
Councillor Abi Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “This is the fourth year that we have supported Operation Sceptre as we recognise its importance in keeping our communities safe.
“We are committed to working with organisations such as Staffordshire Police to combat the problem of knife crime and will be taking appropriate action against the retailers who failed the operation.”
For more information on #DitchTheBlade, including dedicated videos, podcasts and case studies: visit: #DitchTheBlade | Staffordshire Police.