Nottinghamshire Police has taken to the high street to remind stores of the role they can play in tackling knife crime.
Different shops across the Newark area have received a visit from neighbourhood officers as part of Operation Sceptre.
The national week of action began on Monday (13 November), with a series of different initiatives taking place across the county.
One example saw the force’s Newark Neighbourhood Policing team carry out proactive shop visits to help stop knives from falling into the wrong hands.
Shopworkers were reminded of their obligation not to sell knives to anyone under the age of 18 and that doing so is a criminal offence, during Tuesday’s (13 November) visits.
The officers also gave stores advice around the things they could do to prevent these items being stolen, including where they display them to make them harder for people to access without assistance.
Sergeant Rob Harrison, whose team carried out the visits, said:
“Retailers have a key part to play in ensuring knives don’t fall into the wrong hands – including those of young people who should not be sold them under any circumstances.
“With this in mind, we sent some of our officers into different shops across the high street to remind them of this, and to reinforce the importance of staff remaining vigilant should they have knives for sale as part of their stock.
“Whether it be through tagging these items or keeping them behind barriers to reduce ease of access, or making sure buyers show ID to provide proof of their age, there is a lot that stores can do to keep knives out of harm’s way.”
Retailers were also provided with guidance about what to do should they find any knives or offensive weapons in the community or have them handed into their store.
This includes dropping them off in an amnesty bin located at Newark Police Station – one of four stations across the county that has a bin installed for use all year-round.
Sgt Harrison added:
“While the amnesty bins have been rolled out across the force during Op Sceptre, we have a permanent one in Newark that people can drop unwanted knives in whenever the station is open.
“As the name would suggest, anyone using the bins can do so anonymously, without having to worry about being questioned or prosecuted.
“We are committed to doing whatever we can as a police force to take weapons off our streets and keep people safe from knife crime – not just during Op Sceptre but throughout the whole year.”
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.