Education was Nottinghamshire Police’s chosen key topic for the latest knife crime week of action, which ran throughout the entirety of last week.
More than 2,000 school children and college students were spoken to about the dangers of knives during 48 separate educational visits led by officers.
As part of this, primary and secondary schools across the county were visited by a mixture of schools and early intervention officers and neighbourhood officers.
Around 200 students also attended a knife crime education event organised by the force’s Youth Outreach team that was held at Nottingham College’s Basford campus.
During the powerful event, a series of inspirational people whose loved ones lost their lives after being stabbed spoke about the devastation carrying a knife can cause.
Op Sceptre also saw the launch of a new offering for all primary and secondary schools across the county – in the form of updated knife crime guidance for schools and a collection of lesson plans on the topic.
Nottinghamshire Police teamed up with a range of key partners, including the Violence Reduction Partnership, to create the resource for all local schools, with age-appropriate lesson plans being crafted for children in Years 6, 7 and 10.
The resource teaches about the dangers and consequences – including the law and potential punishments – of carrying a knife, and is designed to be led by teachers as part of the school curriculum, to complement the existing sessions being carried out by the county’s schools and early intervention officers.
Knife crime education wasn’t just limited to young people however, with neighbourhood officers visiting shops to remind them of their obligations around the sale of knives, while also attending 21 community meetings and engagement events as well.
Running between 13-19 November, Op Sceptre also provided a sample of some of the enforcement work the police does all year-round to take knives off the streets and identify offenders.
As part of this, a number of different operations took place force wide during the week of action, that ultimately resulted in 85 knives and offensive weapons being seized or handed in by members of the public.
The majority of these were dropped off anonymously into the 14 amnesty bins set up in locations across the county, including the one at Mansfield Police Station, where a zombie knife was retrieved.
Extra patrols were carried out across each of the county’s policing areas, with 69 stop-and-searches resulting in the recovery of five knives and the arrest of nine suspects.
On top of this, metal detecting knife arches were deployed at prominent locations to allow officers to engage with the public and identify wrongdoing, while four knives were discovered during 46 weapon sweeps around parks and other areas.
Test purchase operations then took place at 37 stores across the force area to conclude the week of action, with one of the shops failing the test after selling a craft knife to an underage police cadet involved in the operation.
Appropriate follow up action will take place with this shop, in conjunction with Trading Standards.
There has been a six per cent drop in reported knife crime offences in Nottinghamshire over the last 12 months, compared to the national average where there has been a four per cent increase in reports during that time.
Nottinghamshire has also seen a 10 per cent drop in reported knife crime offences, when comparing the last year to before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Superintendent Kathryn Craner, Nottinghamshire Police’s knife crime lead, said:
“Knife crime is a subject that we never take our eyes off as a force, with a lot of work going on all year-round to try and stay one step ahead of these offences before they happen and to take weapons off our streets.
“Op Sceptre provides a great opportunity to shine a light on some examples of this, including the preventative work we do with our partners to educate people at a young age about knife crime, but the week of action does only showcase a sample of these ongoing initiatives.
“We are absolutely committed as a force to doing whatever we can to limit weapon-enabled crime, and engaging with young people at an early stage and making them aware of the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife is key to helping us do this.
“The new knife crime guidance and resource for schools will help ensure more children will be able to receive these important lessons, so we are delighted to have been able to work in collaboration with our partners to bring this idea to fruition and launch it in time for Op Sceptre.
“Educating people about the dangers of knife crime remains incredibly important to bringing down knife crime rates. We have seen a reduction over the last 12 months in Nottinghamshire but we’re certainly not complacent and will continue to team up with our partners to do whatever we can to prevent these offences from taking place in our communities.”
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry added:
“As a mum, I can’t imagine the pain you would feel if you had that knock at the door, or a phone call to let you know that your loved one has been injured by a knife or had used a knife to injure somebody else.
“We all must have those difficult discussions to make sure that our loved ones don’t carry knives and remember that by carrying one, you are much more likely to be hurt by one.
“Every day I hear stories of the proactive work Nottinghamshire Police officers are doing to make sure that the public are aware of the dangers of carrying knives, and through the Violence Reduction Partnership we continue to convey that message.”