Force focuses on prevention of knife crime during Operation Sceptre
A campaign to root out knife crime led to over a hundred weapons being taken out of harm’s way and more than a thousand children across Nottinghamshire learning about why they should never carry a blade.
Nottinghamshire Police carried out a variety of operations and educational visits during a national week of action designed to take knives off the streets and prevent weapon-enabled crime from happening in the first place.
There was a particular focus on the work being taken by the force to prevent knife crime at an early stage as part of Operation Sceptre, with officers speaking to more than 1,400 pupils across 43 different schools about this important topic.
In addition to visits by schools and early intervention officers and neighbourhood policing teams, the youth outreach team hosted five knife crime talks, while young people were also taken to the ‘Choices and Consequences’ anti-knife crime workshop at the National Justice Museum, Nottingham city centre.
Running between 15-21 May, Operation Sceptre offered just a snapshot of some the work that goes on all year-round between Nottinghamshire Police and its partners to crackdown on the causes of knife crime and to make the county safer.
As part of this, a number of different operations took place force-wide during the week of action to reflect the police’s ongoing efforts to rid the streets of knives and other dangerous weapons.
A total of 133 weapons were seized through the initiatives – the majority of which were dropped off anonymously by members of the public into 13 knife amnesty bins set up inside police stations and shared locations across the county.
Two metal detecting knife arches were also deployed at prominent locations, while 39 weapon sweeps around parks and other areas led to seven knives being recovered, and patrols of hotspot areas resulted in five arrests for knife offences and the seizure of eight blades.
On top of this, test purchase operations took place at 36 stores across the force area, which led to two shops failing the test after selling knives to underage police cadets who had tried to buy knives as part of the operation. Appropriate follow up action will take place will take place with these shops, in conjunction with Trading Standards.
Superintendent Kathryn Craner, Nottinghamshire Police’s knife crime lead, said: “Operation Sceptre offers a great opportunity to showcase the work we do as a force to combat knife crime, but its important people understand this is very much something we focus on all year-round.
“Engaging with people at an early stage so that they can be educated about the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife is central to the work we do with our partners to try and prevent people coming to harm from weapon-enabled crime.
“Education is absolutely key to this, which is precisely why our specially trained schools and early intervention officers visit schools to deliver sessions, with these regular engagements allowing them to build positive relationships with young people, so that these important messages really hit home.
“Taking knives off the streets is obviously also important to reducing knife crime, so we are delighted to see our planned initiatives during Operation Sceptre led to us seizing more than a hundred weapons.
“It is so important that we run visible operations like this, so that the people of Nottinghamshire can see us leaving no stone unturned in our attempts to stop people coming to harm in this way.”
Knife crime fell by 2% in Nottinghamshire between April 2022 and March 2023, compared to the 12-month period the year before, while reported offences reduced by 7%, when compared to before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Key to this drop has been the daily work of the force’s two dedicated knife crime teams, as well as the work done with local partners like the Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner and Nottinghamshire’s Violence Reduction Partnership.
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry said: “While Operation Sceptre has now finished, the tireless work to tackle knife crime continues all year-round.
“It is so important that we have a strong focus on prevention, to ensure we stop the harm that knife crime causes our communities before it is too late.
“Nottinghamshire Police, the Violence Reduction Partnership and other agencies will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our communities in a one-team approach to preventing and responding to knife crime and supporting victims.”