Leicestershire Police is undertaking a week of anti-knife crime action as part of the National Operation Sceptre.
The seven day operation, starting today (26 April), is supported by the force’s established #LivesNotKnives campaign and partnership work which aims to reduce knife crime by targeting those carrying weapons and disrupt the supply of knives available to use.
Operation Sceptre is a national campaign which runs twice per year and while the force will strictly adhere to the latest COVID-19 government guidelines, operational activity will still be taking place.
Officers will be carrying out stop and search activity where appropriate and visiting habitual knife carriers to deliver our #LivesNotKnives messages.
In addition, the force’s knife arch will be at undisclosed locations to target those carrying knives along with any other criminality.
As part of the week members of the public will be able to hand over unwanted knives to surrender bins at Mansfield House, Spinney Hill, Wigston, Keyham Lane, Beaumont Leys, Braunstone, Market Harborough, and Melton police stations, as well as the Falcon Centre in Pinfold Gate, Loughborough. The bins are available for people to safely and anonymously dispose of a knife. For more information on the amnesty bin locations please visit Leicestershire Police’s website here.
The force continues to work closely with the Violence Reduction Network (VRN), established by Lord Willy Bach, the Police and Crime Commissioner and during the week a number of engagement activities will be conducted with young people across the force area.
Building on the success of last year’s school engagement sessions, the force in collaboration with its partners will again be offering digital school engagement sessions for students.
Knife crime awareness classes will take place virtually and act as a forum for teachers and pupils to discuss aspects that lead to knife carrying and offer prevention advice and support. Workshop sessions are available to book throughout the week, availability, dates and times can be found on Leicestershire Police’s website.
Detective Chief Inspector Gavin Drummond, from the Violent and Complex Crime Unit who is leading the operation said:
“Reducing knife crime is a key element in tackling violence. Our officers are working hard to protect communities, tackle this abhorrent crime and educate people on the harm it causes.
“Education and prevention work is key to what we do. We have a complex task trying to reach individuals motivated or pressured to carry knives, and this response not only requires efforts on behalf of the police, but in local schools, charities, from friends and family members, as well as from prominent members of the community.
“Our collaborative #LivesNotKnives campaign which works with the Violence Reduction Network (VRN) aims to give young people and parents support and resources to seek help with the issue across the board. Available on our website are further resources inclusive of Multi-lingual flyers, a 10-step conversational guide and direct links to help and support services.
“Ultimately, Knife crime remains a force priority and will not be tolerated.”
Grace Strong, Strategic Director of the Violence Reduction Network, added:
“We know there are a variety of reasons that young people may decide to carry a knife. It’s important that we understand the root causes and address these whilst continuing to educate young people so they feel safe, understand the consequences of knife carrying and are empowered to make positive choices.
“We believe that violence is preventable and everyone has a role to play in tackling the causes of knife crime. Through providing the right support and interventions as well as involving young people themselves in the solutions, we can reduce and prevent knife crime across our communities.
“Over the last 12 months we have been working closely with Leicestershire Police and to strengthen our prevention offer to young people. We have supported the Warning Zone Project in Central Leicester that is dedicated to teaching life-skills and safeguarding children, in the development of a new knife-crime educational resource for children aged 10-11 from across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
“We continue to run and invest in prevention programmes, including our Mentors in Violence programme in schools which seeks to educate and empower young people to be active bystanders and reject all forms of violence including knife crime.
“As a Network, we feel passionately about ensuring we all play our role in reducing serious violence on our streets and will continue to make the case for investment in prevention.”
If you are looking for help and support, please visit Leicestershire Police’s website. If you are a concerned family member or friend there is also information on the website to help you. Why not start the conversation today using our a 10 step guide?