Tens of thousands of people across Sussex joined in the conversation about knife crime during a week-long national campaign.
Operation Sceptre ran March 11th to 17th and officers were out and about across the county talking to people about knives. Schools, college and youth events were visited during the week as officers spoke to young people about how to act if they feel pressure to carry a knife, and what to do if they feel in danger.
Throughout the week around 5,600 young people were spoken to about the impact they felt knife crime had on their community. Test purchases were also carried out across the whole county with police cadets working alongside officers and trading standards officials to try and buy a knife in shops when they were clearly under 18. Out of the 47 shops tested, 12 failed. They were all given warnings and will be tested again. If they fail for a second time they will be named and either fined or prosecuted.
Across the force knife amnesty bins were in place in police stations and knives were handed in and will now be destroyed.
Assistant Chief Constable Nick May said: “Operation Sceptre gives us a good opportunity to talk about knife crime in an open and honest way, and it’s been good to hear about all the activity which took place during the week.
“It was reassuring to hear about young people really getting involved in the conversation on knives and the impact it had on them. The week also gave us useful intelligence on why people carry knives and we are doing further on developing this information.
“However this isn’t just one week of action, these patrols and conversations are all part of everyday policing. We always have amnesty bins in police stations and you can always drop off your dangerous and unwanted blades. We will continue working with other agencies to take positive action when knife crimes occur, focusing on engagement and prevention.”
If you need to talk to someone anonymously, Crimestoppers can be reached on 0800 555 111. As always, you can report crime online, or via 101. In an emergency, always call 999.
And young people in East Sussex say tackling knife crime should be an absolute priority.
The county’s Youth Cabinet gave its backing to a Sussex Police campaign to tackle the growing issue of knife crime with Youth Cabinet member Holly Bobbett attending the launch of Operation Sceptre.
Holly said: “I want a better future for young people my age. I don’t want to see more victims. I want to see more services available to prevent young people carrying knives.
“We all need to work together to make sure young people feel safe and understand the dangers and consequences. We need to invest in the next generation.”
Identified as a top priority by their peers, members of East Sussex Youth Cabinet have also launched their own campaign – Tackle Knife Crime.
The Youth Cabinet campaign, supported by the Sussex Police Community Fund, aims to survey young people about their fears and perceptions of knife crime.
The Youth Cabinet will also work with the local authorities, schools and Sussex Police to develop a film about the issue over the next few months. The film will include voices from young people from across the county to share their views on knife crime in a bid to tackle the growing issue.
The short film will be used in East Sussex County Council’s #kNOwkives project which works with young people to help them make safe choices and with parents and professionals to help them understand the dangers and teach them strategies for dealing with knife crime issues.
The film will also be available for wider campaigns to highlight the issues.