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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Operation Sceptre sees almost 2,000 arrests and thousands of knives seized

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he national operation to tackle knife crime – known as Operation Sceptre – has seized thousands of knives, police chiefs have said.

The operation, which was undertaken by all 43 forces in England and Wales as well as the British Transport Police, also saw 1,947 arrests, with 831 related to knife crime offences.

A number of different tactics were used to remove knives from the streets, including honesty bins, knife arches and weapon sweeps.

Officers seized 1,074 knives while 8,401 were surrendered or seized during sweeps. This is an increase of 14% since the last Operation Sceptre in 2021, according to figures from the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).

Minister for Crime and Policing Kit Malthouse meets police officers manning a knife arch in a shopping centre in Peterborough, during the national Operation Sceptre campaign (Joe Giddens/PA) / PA Wire

The police also worked with the prison service to sweep cells, with 131 inmates searched in 100 cells across eight prisons. They seized 29 weapons during the cell searches, including razor blades fixed to toothbrushes and other handles.

Other weapons seized by police over the week include swords, hunting knives and machetes.

There was also an education and youth engagement element to the week with 966 local events held and 1,917 schools visited.

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for knife crime, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty, said the operation saw a “real crackdown” on knife crime.

“Operation Sceptre saw a real crackdown on the serious violence associated with knife crime and has delivered some outstanding results,” he said.

“Op Sceptre highlights the continuing commitment of the police working with the public in preventing young people carrying knives and this latest Sceptre week saw our engagement with schools and communities increase to higher levels than ever before.

“Young people must understand that carrying a knife is never the answer, nor does it offer the protection they think it does. It only puts them at greater risk.”

The Minister for Crime, Policing and Probation Kit Malthouse said there is “nothing more terrifying” for a parent than the thought of the child not making it home.

“We have to work day and night to keep our kids safe”, he said.

There is nothing more terrifying for a parent that the thought of them not making it home.

“Operations like this are helping us make our streets safer each day.”

Chief Inspector Rob Ranstead, who led the operation for the Metropolitan Police, said making London safer is his force’s priority.

“Our mission is to bear down on violence and make communities safer across London – it’s our priority,” he said.

“Operation Sceptre is an intensification of the work we already do every single day and officers will not stop doing everything they can to target those carrying weapons on our streets.”

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