Call for public to bin their blades as week-long knife amnesty starts in Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 10:41 11 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:03 11 March 2019
People in Norfolk are being urged to bin their blades as part of a national campaign aimed at cutting knife crime on the streets.
Norfolk Constabulary is one of 44 forces across the country involved in Operation Sceptre - a week of action taking place to highlight the risks that carrying a blade can bring, as well as targeting offenders who use and carry knives.
From today people can hand over knives, including kitchen knives, pen knives, flick knives, machetes and other bladed items, at police stations across the county without fear of prosecution.
Within an hour of the amnesty starting 15 weapons were handed into Bethel Street Police Station.
Norfolk Police tweeted: “These knives were surrendered at our Norwich Public Enquiry Office within 90 minutes of it opening this morning. That’s 15 knives off our streets which could’ve potentially got into the wrong hands #StopKnifeCrime #OpSceptre #SaveALifeSurrenderTheKnife http://www.norfolk.police.uk/news/latest-news/08-03-2019/surrender-your-knife-and-save-life …”
Last year 643 offences involving knives or bladed weapons were reported to Norfolk Police in 2018, compared with 550 offences in 2017.
This includes offences such as possession, assault, robbery, criminal damage and affray in which a bladed weapon was used or threatened to be used. Burglaries in which a sharp instrument was used to gain access would also fall into the category.
Of those offences, there were 158 cases where a knife was used or threatened in violence against a person in 2017 compared to 183 in 2018.
Knives can be surrendered at any police station, but people are encouraged to take them to their nearest Public Enquiry Office (PEO) which in Norfolk include police headquarters at Wymondham, King’s Lynn, Norwich and Great Yarmouth
Officers from local policing areas, alongside drugs teams and response officers, will also conduct visible patrols to target and disrupt offenders who carry and use knives; and work with Norfolk County Council Trading Standards to carry out checks at local retailers to ensure they are not selling knives to anyone under the age of 18.
Inspector Darren Brooks from Norfolk Police said: “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.”
Lorne Green, Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner, is supporting the campaign. He said: “From the moment I came into office I have made sure, through my Police and Crime Plan, that my emphasis has been on protecting people, helping the vulnerable, preventing crime and reducing the number of lives blighted by horrific offences including knife crime.
“I have no higher duty than to do what I can to enhance life chances for young people across the county.
“While I support the national week of action, I think it is absolutely crucial that we appreciate there is a bigger piece of work taking place in the county. My office has had a significant impact on funding innovative schemes the length and breadth of the county to prevent crime and protect vulnerable young people.
“Such a ‘prevention together with cure’ culture has been a major focus throughout for me and the highly committed staff of my office. It is absolutely essential we work together with partners to address the root causes of these terrible crimes and to protect the vulnerable.”
Projects funded through the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk (OPCCN) to tackle knife crime and help young people at risk of criminal exploitation include the Street Doctors initiative which was first delivered in the county in March 2017.
The innovative project educates young people – mainly from short-stay schools or those involved with the Norfolk Youth Offending Team - about the dangers of knife crime while providing them with life-saving first aid training in the event the worst should happen. Norfolk is the only county in East Anglia where the project has been delivered.
Mr Green added: “I am proud of the work which is being carried out across the county to help and support vulnerable young people who risk getting or who already are caught up in criminal exploitation or who have found themselves victims of knife crime in some way.”