Police target knife crime in week-long campaign

Residents in the Melton borough are being invited to hand in unwanted knives at the town police station as part of a countywide campaign to get the potentially lethal weapons off the streets.

Monday, 26th April 2021, 1:49 pm
Police officers pictured in 2017 with a knife arch metal-detector outside the Black Swan pub in Melton - it is to be used across Leicestershire again this week as part of a knife crime campaign EMN-210426-134428001

It is part of a week of local anti-knife crime activities Leicestershire Police are organising through the national Operation Sceptre.

Officers will be carrying out stop and search activity where appropriate and visiting habitual knife carriers to deliver their #LivesNotKnives messages.

In addition, the force’s knife arch will be at undisclosed locations to target those carrying knives along with any other criminality.

Members of the public are invited to deposit their unwanted knives in ‘surrender bins’, safely and anonymously, at police stations across the county and city fron today (Monday).

Det Ch Insp Gavin Drummond, from the violent and complex crime unit, who is leading the operation, said: “Reducing knife crime is a key element in tackling violence.

“Our officers are working hard to protect communities, tackle this abhorrent crime and educate people on the harm it causes.”

The Leicestershire force continues to work closely with the Violence Reduction Network (VRN), established by Lord Willy Bach, the Police and Crime Commissioner, and during the week a number of engagement activities will be conducted with young people across the area.

Building on the success of last year’s school engagement sessions, the force in collaboration with its partners will again be offering digital school engagement sessions for students.

Knife crime awareness classes will take place virtually and act as a forum for teachers and pupils to discuss aspects that lead to knife carrying and offer prevention advice and support.

Workshop sessions are available to book throughout the week, availability, dates and times can be found on Leicestershire Police’s website.

“Education and prevention work is key to what we do,” added Det Ch Insp Drummond.

“We have a complex task trying to reach individuals motivated or pressured to carry knives, and this response not only requires efforts on behalf of the police, but in local schools, charities, from friends and family members, as well as from prominent members of the community.

“Ultimately, Knife crime remains a force priority and will not be tolerated.”

Grace Strong, strategic director of the VRN, commented: “We know there are a variety of reasons that young people may decide to carry a knife.

“It’s important that we understand the root causes and address these whilst continuing to educate young people so they feel safe, understand the consequences of knife carrying and are empowered to make positive choices.

“We believe that violence is preventable and everyone has a role to play in tackling the causes of knife crime. Through providing the right support and interventions as well as involving young people themselves in the solutions, we can reduce and prevent knife crime across our communities.”

Ms Strong added: “Over the last 12 months we have been working closely with Leicestershire Police and to strengthen our prevention offer to young people.

“We have supported the Warning Zone Project in Central Leicester that is dedicated to teaching life-skills and safeguarding children, in the development of a new knife-crime educational resource for children aged 10 to 11 from across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

“We continue to run and invest in prevention programmes, including our Mentors in Violence programme in schools which seeks to educate and empower young people to be active bystanders and reject all forms of violence including knife crime.

“As a network, we feel passionately about ensuring we all play our role in reducing serious violence on our streets and will continue to make the case for investment in prevention.”