#StopKnifeCrime is the central message of the national week of action, Operation Sceptre, which is being actively supported by Suffolk Constabulary.
Taking place between Tuesday and Monday September 18 and 24, the campaign aims to highlight the risks that carrying a bladed weapon can bring, as well as targeting offenders who use and carry knives in Suffolk.
Police are also urging parents and carers to talk to their children about the dangers of carrying knives and the terrible impact that knife crime can have on them, their friends, their family and their community.
Whilst the majority of young people do not carry knives, it is possible that children are in contact with friends who do so without parents/carers knowing. Often children will have talked about knives with friends or heard stories about those that carry them, but parents/carers should still consider having the conversation, setting out the facts.
For more information and advice regarding #HavingTheConversation see http://www.suffolk.police.uk/advice/personal-safety/knife-crime/having-conversation
Police from across the force will be targeting offenders connected with knife crime.
Officers from local policing areas, alongside drugs teams and response officers will use intelligence-led deployments, weapons sweeps and high-visibility patrols to target and disrupt offenders who carry and use knives. This is part of ongoing work with partners to tackle crime gang and associated gang activity.
Suffolk Constabulary is also working closely with schools and colleges to educate on the dangers of carrying a knife. There is a revitalised programme of officers delivering knife crime awareness messages alongside advice and guidance to children and young people across the county.
Knife amnesty bins across the county give people the opportunity to dispose of knives and blades safely. Since the Bin a Blade campaign was launched in 2011, well over 20,000 bladed items have been deposited.
Superintendent Kerry Cutler, lead for Operation Sceptre at Suffolk Police, said: “We take positive action to try and prevent offences by removing knives and offensive weapons before any harm is caused. We will continue to highlight the dangers of carrying knives, and other weapons, and the devastating consequences this can have on the lives of young people. If you are found illegally in possession of a knife you will be arrested, put before the court and brought to justice.
“Carrying knives or other weapons do not keep you safe. 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. This is a key message which we emphasis in our awareness-raising work with children and young people across Suffolk.
“This week of activity is also part of our ongoing commitment to disrupt criminal gangs and take as many knives and weapons off our streets as possible. There are a number of knife amnesty bins across the county in place across the county and I would encourage people to use them and help us to keep Suffolk safe.”
Two new knife amnesty bins have been installed in Queen’s Way and Bramford Road, in Ipswich. In addition there is also a knife bin outside Ipswich Fire Station and at police stations in Lowestoft, Bury St Edmunds, Mildenhall, Sudbury and Haverhill.
Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: “If there is a message that is very pertinent in Suffolk right now, it is please #StopKnifeCrime.
“Since the last Operation Sceptre earlier this year, a young man sadly lost his life on a residential road in Ipswich. The tragic stabbing of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens must focus our attention on this terrible, terrible knife issue and act as a step change for the behaviour of our young people.
“We need to do all we can through education, peer pressure, policing and sentencing to make it absolutely clear that it’s never acceptable for a person to carry a knife or weapon. I find it really disappointing that anyone carries a blade of any kind. I would implore all parents to talk to their children about the dangers of knife crime. This growing trend has got to stop, carrying a knife just doesn’t make you safe, it can lead to dreadful consequences.
“I fully support the Constabulary’s campaign and would encourage anyone who has a knife or any other weapon to dispose of them responsibly and immediately. Ultimately it is about making Suffolk as safe as possible.”
Anyone with information on knife crime in their local community is asked to contact Suffolk Police on 101, or pass information to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency, always dial 999.