Operation Sceptre launched in bid to prevent knife crime in North Wales

PEOPLE are being encouraged to leave unwanted knives in amnesty bins at police stations as part of a week-long campaign.

North Wales Police is taking part in Operation Sceptre – a national week of action which aims to raise awareness of the dangers of knife crime and reduce it by targeting those carrying weapons.

Superintendent Helen Corcoran said: “Even during these unprecedented and challenging times, we must ensure we’re doing everything we can to reinforce the message that carrying a knife is unacceptable and that no good can come from carrying one.

“North Wales remains a safe place to live, work and visit, and thankfully we don’t face the level of knife crime other areas see. However we cannot be complacent. Every incident involving a knife has consequences for all those involved, and so this is an issue we take extremely seriously.

“We take a robust approach to anyone found to be illegally in possession of a knife or bladed article on the streets and I would encourage you to take this opportunity to rid yourselves of any illegal weapons by taking them to any of our police station front counters.

“Whilst the causes and drivers of knife crime are complex, early intervention and putting in place measures to tackle the root causes are absolutely essential. We are committed to taking a collaborative approach to tackle knife crime across north Wales and we will continue to build on the already successful work with our partners and communities.”

Retailers have an important role to play in tackling knife crime by ensuring that knives are not falling into the wrong hands.

With this, officers will be visiting local retail stores to “knowledge check” staff regarding the sales of knives and the ‘Challenge 25 ID’ approach.

School Community Police Officers across the region will also be delivering the Tricked and Trapped input on County Lines – educating young people on how to spot the signs of exploitation. The lessons address how they or their friends could be drawn into a life of crime by drugs gangs operating across North Wales.

Supt Corcoran added: “I am also asking parents, guardians and extended family members, to talk to young family members about knife crime as you can play a vital role in preventing them from becoming involved. We advise you try and talk to them openly about the dangers, as well as the life-changing consequences that come from carrying a knife.

“We have some simple advice to help you have the conversation. Firstly, be aware that the young person may be reluctant to talk to you about knife crime, so reassure them that they can be honest with you, as well as letting them know that you’ll listen to what they have to say and support them without judgement.

“You should encourage them to share their fears and worries. We know that fear and a feeling of vulnerability is often the reason behind carrying knives. Many young people do so because they are afraid for their own safety and they believe a knife will protect them. So it’s important that they realise that their chances of becoming a victim of knife crime increases just by carrying one. Sharing your own fears can also help, as this can help them open up.

“It is important to highlight that the vast majority of young people don’t carry a knife as they do not give you protection, and it’s not acceptable. Let them know that they do have a choice when it comes to carrying a knife, even though it may seem to them like they don’t.

“Encourage them to consider who they’d be affecting if they get involved in knife crime and what the consequences can come from it, such as being expelled from school, being arrested or even worse, someone tragically losing their life. Also reiterate to walk away from a dangerous situation.

“Finally explain that they can always report their concerns about anyone carrying a knife anonymously through Crimestoppers.

“We are grateful for the support from our partners and communities and together, we will continue to work towards removing knives and dangerous weapons and bring those responsible, for carrying and using them, to justice.”

Amnesty bins are in place at police station front counters across North Wales.

The operation started on Monday, November 9.

Anyone who has concerns about someone they know or care about, who is carrying or hiding a knife, telephone police on 101 or CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Alternatively, visit the Fearless campaign website www.fearless.org/en/give-info.

Dial 999 in an emergency.

North Wales Pioneer | Llandudno