Northamptonshire Police stepped up its activities to prevent and tackle knife crime across the county as part of the national initiative - Operation Sceptre.
Officers and staff joined colleagues from across the UK to take part in the week of action between May 16-22, which coincided with the visit of the iconic Knife Angel statue which has been in the county since the end of April.
The artwork, created by Alfie Bradley at the British Ironworks Centre at Oswestry in Shropshire, is made from 100,000 blunted blades handed into police forces from across the country, including Northamptonshire Police.
People of all ages have flocked to see the towering figure during its two-week stay in Northampton and Corby, where it has provided a focal point for the Force and its partners to reignite the important conversation around reducing knife crime.
The latest Operation Sceptre week of action has helped to support the education and engagement multi-agency events organised as part of the Knife Angel’s visit, helping to reinforce the preventative message.
During the week of intensification activity, members of the neighbourhood policing teams joined partner agencies to hold 14 community engagements events across the county, gave talks at 13 secondary schools and visited 10 retailers.
Other activities included 54 weapon sweeps in hot spot areas where knife crime is more prevalent, while the knife arch was set up at five locations during the policing of the night-time economy.
Stop search powers were utilised 48 times during the week of action, resulting in six arrests, one in connection with a knife crime offence. While a further 11 people were arrested for various offences including public order, robbery, and possession of an offensive weapon.
A total of 215 knives were safely removed from the streets after being handed in at one of the 37 knife amnesty events, this was in addition to the 94 knives which had been handed into the Northampton Neighbourhood Policing Team the previous week.
Finally, with the support of the Northamptonshire Emergency Services Cadets, checks to make sure shops were not breaking the law by selling knives to under 18s, were carried out at 36 stores.
Of those visited the majority acted legally and responsibly, and rightly refused to sell the young volunteers any bladed articles, however, five were given written warnings after selling a knife to the cadets, who were all under 18.
Northamptonshire Police knife crime lead, Chief Superintendent Adam Ward said: “Knife crime remains a matter of priority for the Force, and it is important that we continue work with our communities to prevent and tackle this type of offending.
“We tackle and prevent knife crime daily however, the sheer presence of the Knife Angel in Northamptonshire, along with the Operation Sceptre week of action, has enabled us to engage and educate our young people and the wider community.
“However, to make sure the next generation understands the consequences of carrying a knife, we need to build on all the hard work which has been carried out so far and continue to work together to reduce the risk and harm caused by knives.
“It’s always important to remember that most of us do not carry knives and will probably never be affected by knife crime but sadly, we have also seen the harm caused to families and communities through the tragic loss of life relating to knife crime.
“The enforcement and proactive work we do is only one part of the solution to this issue. We all have an important role to play in tackling and preventing knife crime by raising awareness of the consequences and dangers of carrying a knife.
“We would encourage parents and carers to talk to their children about the hazards of carrying a knife and we would ask anyone with information about somebody in their community they think may carry a knife to get in touch with us.”
Find out more about how Northamptonshire Police is preventing and tackling knife crime here.
If you have any information or concerns about knife crime in your community, you can report non-emergency crime to 101, visit www.northants.police.uk or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. In an emergency always call 999.
Or if you have any concerns about someone you know carrying a knife, CIRV (Community Initiative for the Reduction of Violence) is a multi-agency partnership which supports children and young adults. For more information visit www.cirv-nsd.org.uk.