Nottinghamshire Police will be focusing on the ongoing efforts to reduce knife crime in our communities over the next seven days.
Taking blades off the streets and stopping people from picking them up in the first place are key parts of the county’s approach to cracking down on knife crime.
‘Operation Sceptre’ will offer a snapshot of some of this valuable work already being done between police, partners and the local community to tackle this issue and keep people safe.
As part of the national week of action, which runs from today until Sunday (20 November), Nottinghamshire officers will be carrying out a range of different proactive policing and public engagement work.
Positive action will focus on educating people, especially young people, about the consequences of knife carrying, with officers set to visit different schools and colleges across the county to highlight these dangers.
Arrangements have also been made for youngsters to visit the Ben Kinsella Trust’s ‘Choices and Consequences’ exhibition at the National Justice Museum in Nottingham to learn about the devastating impact of knife crime.
An engagement event focusing on knife crime will also be held at Park Vale Academy, Top Valley, at the end of the week, featuring powerful speeches from people who have lost loved ones, music and dance performances from local artists and a range of other activities.
The force has several other initiatives planned throughout the week to help take knives off the streets, including carrying out extra patrols and search warrants, deploying metal-detecting knife arches and doing knife sweeps around hot spot areas.
Amnesty bins have also been set up inside police stations across Nottinghamshire as part of the offering for the campaign, in a bid to encourage people to get rid of unwanted knives without the fear of being prosecuted.
The force has two dedicated knife crime teams, covering the city and county, who specifically target knife crime by carrying out regular patrols, with their work seeing them take nearly 250 blades and offensive weapons off the streets so far this year.
Operation Sceptre only offers a sample of the work carried out all year-round that led to knife crime falling by seven per cent in Nottinghamshire between April 2021 and March 2022, compared to the same 12-month period before the pandemic.
Superintendent Kathryn Craner, Nottinghamshire Police’s knife crime lead, said: “Eradicating knife crime from our communities is a key priority for us as we understand the devastation this offending can cause.
“It’s important people realise the dangers carrying a knife can bring and that doing this will actually put them more at risk of getting seriously injured themselves.
“Taking knives off the streets and educating young people about the consequences of carrying a blade so they make the right choices are crucial to reducing offending and preventing these crimes from happening in the first place.
“The positive action we’ll be carrying out throughout this week of action will focus on these points, although Operation Sceptre will offer just a snapshot of all the proactive work we do all year-round.
“Working alongside our partners, we have taken some positive strides in helping reduce knife crime in our communities but it’s absolutely crucial that we continue our efforts to drive this down further.”
Among these key partners is Nottinghamshire’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), which uses innovative early intervention methods to positively engage with young people to educate them about the dangers associated with knife crime before they ever pick up a knife.
Natalie Baker-Swift, head of the Violence Reduction Unit, said: “The VRU is happy to once again be working with the police and Police and Crime Commissioner to coordinate action against knife crime and violence.
“Our message to young people is that carrying a knife simply does not make you safer, and help is out there to lift you out of violence, exploitation, and fear.
“We hope Operation Sceptre continues to boost the partnership work which is vital to supporting these vulnerable young people.”
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry made knife crime a priority area for Nottinghamshire Police as part of her ‘Make Notts Safe’ plan.
Her Office is also responsible for commissioning scores of third sector organisations to carry out valuable diversionary activity for young people, educational work and support services to prevent knife crime and support victims across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.
She said: “Every knife crime has a profound impact on victims, families and communities.
“That’s why it is so important that we stand together as a community in Nottinghamshire and say ‘we won’t sit back and let it happen.’
“We have to be united in ensuring our city and county remain a place where carrying a knife is completely unacceptable and called out wherever we see it.
“The police and local partners do an incredible job in tackling knife crime – but by the time the police are called to get involved, it is often too late to stop the harm to the victim and the perpetrator and that wider ripple effect on the community.
“The biggest difference we can all make is educating young people in our society – our sons, daughters, brothers and sisters – to help them make positive choices in their lives that allow a better future for everyone.”