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Knife crime education the focus this Op Sceptre

The year-round efforts of Nottinghamshire Police and its partners to stop people picking up a knife will be highlighted over the next few days.

Knife crime prevention through education will be the main focus of the latest Operation Sceptre, which is due to start tomorrow (13 November) and run until Sunday (19 November).

The week of action will provide a snapshot of some of the ways the force and its partners work together to make people aware from a young age about the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife or hanging out with people that do.

Nottinghamshire Police regularly sends schools and early intervention and neighbourhood policing officers into schools to speak to children about knife crime and to answer any questions they have around this important subject.  

These will all be stepped up throughout Op Sceptre, with officers visiting more schools and colleges than usual across the county in a bid to ensure messages really hit home about the dangers knives and other weapons pose.

To kickstart the week of action, the force and its partners, including Nottingham and Nottinghamshire’s Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP), will be unveiling details tomorrow about a new collaborative offering designed to further improve education around knife crime for children across Nottingham.

Nottinghamshire Police’s Youth Outreach team have also teamed up with Nottingham College to organise an invite only anti-knife crime event for students during the week, while arrangements have been made for young people to visit the Ben Kinsella Trust’s ‘Choices and Consequences’ exhibition.

Hosted inside Nottingham’s National Justice Museum, thousands of children have visited the powerful workshop since 2019 to learn more about the devastating impact of knife crime, after an offering was set up to allow school children in Year 5 and above to attend for free.

In the lead up to Op Sceptre, Nottinghamshire Police has also supported the launch of a four-week campaign encouraging young people to report information about weapon-enabled crime and other offences anonymously by using Crimestoppers' youth service 'Fearless', which can be accessed via Fearless.org or by calling 0800 555 111.

Taking knives off the streets is another key focus for the police, with several initiatives planned throughout Op Sceptre, including the deployment of metal-detecting knife arches at different locations, and knife sweeps led by each of the force’s neighbourhood policing teams.

Officers will be carrying out visible patrols of hotspot areas during the week, while amnesty bins where people can anonymously dispose of unwanted knives will also be rolled out at different police stations and other locations across Nottinghamshire.

A total of 133 weapons were seized through the force’s different initiatives during the last Op Sceptre in May 2023, with the majority being dropped off by members of the public into 13 knife amnesty bins.

Nottinghamshire Police is one of only a handful of forces that has two dedicated knife crime teams, who specifically target this type of offending all year-round, with their regular patrols alone leading to around 140 blades and offensive weapons being taken off the streets in the last year.

This valuable work has helped see a six per cent drop in reported knife crime offences in the county over the last 12 months, compared to the national average where there has been a four per cent increase in reports in that time. 

In Nottinghamshire, reported offences have also reduced by 10 per cent in the last year, when compared to before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Superintendent Kathryn Craner, Nottinghamshire Police’s knife crime lead, said:

“While taking knives off the streets is clearly a big part of what we do as police force, stopping people from picking them up in the first place is also incredibly important to reducing knife crime.  

“That decision to carry a knife can have devastating consequences, with people sometimes losing their lives or having them ruined as a result, while also causing irreparable pain to their loved ones along the way too.

“The ramifications of this avoidable act can be astronomical, which is precisely why it is so crucial that we try to educate young people about this, so that they make the right decision if they find themselves in a situation where they ever consider picking up or using a weapon.   

“We will continue to do whatever we can alongside our partners to try and prevent knife crime offences from taking place, whether that be through education sessions in schools or colleges, engagement work in the community, or proactive policing techniques.

“Op Sceptre will allow us to shine a light on a small sample of some of this preventative work, along with what our officers do each day to tackle weapon-enabled crime by identifying offenders and taking knives off the streets.”

Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry added:

“We need people to understand that carrying a knife does not protect you. It actually puts you and others at risk and the consequences can be devastating.

“Nottinghamshire Police and partner agencies work incredibly hard every day to prevent knife crime; with educating and engaging the public a vital way of doing that.

“Operation Sceptre gives us a great opportunity to make people aware of the support that is out there and encourage people to reach out.”

For more information about Op Sceptre, visit: Operation Sceptre | Nottinghamshire Police

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