18,000 school pupils across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland attended knife-crime awareness workshops during a national week of action to tackle knife crime.
Leicestershire Police, along with the other 42 UK police forces, supported November’s Operation Sceptre to keep communities safe.
The seven-day operation, which began on Monday 13 November, supports the force’s established #LivesNotKnives campaign which aims to reduce knife crime by targeting those carrying weapons and to disrupt the supply of knives available to use.
Officers carried out proactive patrols, engagement events, school education sessions, beat surgeries and visited habitual knife carriers to deliver the #LivesNotKnives message. In addition, the force’s knife arch was deployed to target those carrying knives.
All of this activity generated the following results:
52 weapon sweeps carried out
53 knives recovered
13 arrests made
31 educational events facilitated
45 school workshops delivered
20 visits to retailers
22 test purchases carried out
Social media posts that reached 167,144 people
Surrender bins were available for people to safely and anonymously dispose of knives. They were available in Charnwood, Beaumont Leys, Braunstone, Hinckley, Keyham Lane, Mansfield House, Melton and Spinney Hill stations front enquiry offices for the duration of the week.
Knife crime awareness classes also took place providing an opportunity for teachers and pupils to discuss what leads a person to carry a knife. Over 18,000 young people attended the workshops where prevention advice and support were offered.
Workshop sessions are available, booking information can be found here: School Workshops.
Detective Inspector Mark Brennan, from the Violent and Complex Crime Unit who lead the operation said: “Op Sceptre is a concentrated week of activity to tackle knife crime. But in reality, work to reduce violent crime happens daily.
“Our officers work tirelessly to keep the communities of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland safe every single day.
“Education and engagement are key to reaching people and to share the Lives not Knives message.
“To get knives off the street is great news, these knives will now never reach the hands of someone determined to use them for harm. The engagement with shops and online retailers who sell knives worked well, although unfortunately five shops failed. The force and Trading Standards will work together to seek prosecutions.”
Rupert Matthews, Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland said: “This week of action has once again reaped rewards. More deadly weapons have been taken off our streets. I would like to thank everyone involved from the frontline officers at the sharp end of enforcement through to the prevention team which works with young people to highlight that carrying a knife can be catastrophic.
“But I know that this type of activity is not restrained to specific weeks. It happens every day.
“Our partners in the Violence Reduction Network have been applauded for the excellence of their work to turn lives away from serious violence. It takes much more than handcuffs and warrants to prevent knife crime. This is why, as part of my ongoing commitment to reducing knife crime, I have continued to invest in schemes which treat serious violence as a public health issue and tackle problems at source. ”
If you are looking for help and support, please visit Leicestershire Police’s website.