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Nottinghamshire knife crime prevention continues during national initiative

Nottinghamshire Police is shining a spotlight on the effort to drive down knife crime as a national week of action gets under way.

Operation Sceptre, which launches tomorrow (Monday 16 May 2022), will provide just a sample of the continuous year-round work being done to prevent knife crime in Nottinghamshire and to protect communities from the harm it causes.

Nottinghamshire’s effective joint approach to tackling the issue involves police, partners and local communities all working closely together to tackle the issue.

Positive action to raise awareness of the devastating consequences of knife crime, to help prevent incidents from happening in the first place, will include educational events at local schools and colleges and proactive public engagement including the use of metal-detecting walk-through knife arches.

A spotlight will also be shone on proactive work going on to keep people safe and remove dangerous weapons from circulation including community weapons sweeps, patrols in knife crime hot-spot areas and proactive operations.

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In support of the week of action, members of the public will also be able to play their part to help stop knives falling into the wrong hands by putting unwanted knives in amnesty bins sited in police stations and shared locations in the city and county.

People can deposit their knives without fear of prosecution during the week. Weapons handed in will be destroyed.

The bins are located at the following police stations (front counter)/shared service bin locations in the city: Beeston; Broxtowe; Bulwell; Oxclose Lane; Radford Road and St Ann’s.

There will also be bins at Byron House and inside The Pilgrim Church in The Meadows.

The county police station/shared service bin locations are: Kirkby; Mansfield; Newark; Ollerton; Retford and Worksop.

Members of the public are advised to check the opening times of amnesty bin locations before they travel.

The force’s dedicated knife crime and Operation Reacher teams will also be deployed during the week of action as they continue their work to deter offenders and keep people safe.

Knife crime in Nottinghamshire fell by eight per cent in the year end to December 2021 and also by 10 per cent during the previous year, exceeding the national and regional reductions of nine per cent and six per cent respectively for 2020.

Official figures also show that knife crime dropped in Nottinghamshire before the Covid-19 pandemic, with a reduction of eight per cent in the year end to December 2019, bucking the national and regional trend (seven per cent rise nationally and 13 per cent rise regionally).

Superintendent Kathryn Craner, Nottinghamshire Police’s knife crime lead, said: “I’m pleased at how successful our partnership approach has proved to be, however I want to reassure people that we remain totally committed to driving down knife crime.

“We know how devastating just one knife crime incident can be for everyone involved, as well as the wider community.

“That’s why we treat it so seriously and continue to do everything in our power to keep people safe as well as taking robust action against those who choose to carry knives and use them to harm others.”

A major part in the collaborative effort to prevent knife crime is Nottinghamshire’s Violence Reduction Unit – a multi-agency partnership focused on breaking the cycle of violence.

Among its methods to reduce crime are working with and supporting young people and using early intervention, including education, mentorship and diversionary initiatives, before violence such as knife crime has a chance to take hold.

Natalie Baker-Swift, head of the Violence Reduction Unit, said: “Operation Sceptre presents us with another opportunity to build awareness in our communities of the perils of carrying weapons and focus the public’s attention on the work being undertaken all year round to make our streets and the public safe.

“Reducing violence is a team effort and we work very closely with Nottinghamshire Police to deliver a whole system approach, complementing enforcement techniques with preventative interventions that help young people overcome trauma and educate them on choice.

“The Violence Reduction Unit recently received confirmation of a three-year funding deal worth £3.5million which will make a huge difference to our work and the efforts of the force and our wider partners.

“Sustainability is vital if we are to continue to achieve measurable change in the lives of the young people we support and mentor and achieve safer communities in the long-term.”

The Violence Reduction Unit is overseen by Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry, as chair of its strategic board.

Preventing crime is also a key priority in Commissioner Henry’s Police and Crime Plan.

Commissioner Henry said: “It is clear our proactive, multi-agency approach is working and can be seen from the success we have had in tackling knife crime in the city and county. Whilst there is still more to be done, our message remains clear – we will keep working hard to keep dangerous weapons off our streets.”

As part of its ongoing efforts to stop knives from falling into the wrong hands, Nottinghamshire Police is also reminding people of legislation under The Offensive Weapons Act 2019 – meaning it is now illegal to have certain types of knives and other items even at home in private, as well as it being an offence to carry them in public.

Some of the weapons now covered by the laws include zombie knives, flick knives, butterfly knives, swords, throwing stars, knuckledusters and telescopic truncheons.

The force has also welcomed new laws, brought about by the same act, making it harder for people to buy dangerous weapons and become involved in knife crime.

Changes to legislation, brought about last month, mean it is now more difficult for people to buy weapons, both at the point of sale and delivery, in order to protect and safeguard people.

Retailers and couriers are now legally obliged to do more to ensure that knives, corrosives and other offensive weapons are not sold or delivered to those under the age of 18. The new restrictions also mean it is an offence to possess a corrosive substance in a public place.

Anyone with information on knife crime in their local community is urged to call Nottinghamshire Police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency, always dial 999.

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