413 knives taken off the streets of Greater Manchester as part of Op Sceptre
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Earlier this month, forces across the country came together for a week of intense action to help tackle knife crime. Throughout the week-long campaign, which known as Operation Sceptre, 413 knives were taken off the streets of Greater Manchester, and 49 arrests were made.
Between Monday 15 – Sunday 21 November, officers deployed portable knife arches, took part in knife sweeps, high-visibility patrols, warrants, and visits to known habitual knife carriers and performed a number of stop and search activities where appropriate; all of which contributed to the week’s positive results.
Working alongside local partners, colleges and schools, officers delivered more than 74 anti-knife sessions and engaged with over 2500 pupils across Greater Manchester, to help raise awareness of knife crime and the devastating impact carrying a knife can have. The sessions covered the dangers of handling knives, the laws around knife crime and advice on how to avoid becoming involved in, or becoming a victim of knife crime.
Retailers can play an important role in tackling knife, by ensuring that they do not sell knives to anyone under the age of 18. Throughout the week, officers made 101 visits to local retail stores to engage with those working in the sector. They did ‘knowledge checks’ with staff to ensure that they were educated in and abiding by legislation.
Superintendent Chris Downey, GMP's knife crime lead, said:“The activity carried out as part of Operation Sceptre is vital and I’m pleased with the results that it has driven. It is important to remember that this week of action was an intensification of GMP’s continued focus on knife crime and that work is being carried out by our dedicated officers’ day-in day-out to tackle the issue.
“While GMP plays an essential role in the policing and enforcement activity surrounding knife crime, in order to prevent incidents of knife crime, it’s important that we take a community-led approach and work in coordination with our partners in the Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit (VRU).
“The VRU brings together GMP, National Probation Service, health and education professionals, youth justice and local authorities to address the underlying causes of violent crime and work together with communities to prevent it. It forms part of Greater Manchester’s approach to tackling serious violent crime, which includes making sure victims of violent crime get the right support, and improving the criminal justice response to all forms of serious violence. By taking this unified approach, we will ultimately be more effective in reducing knife crime.
“Knife crime can cause misery and fear to our local communities, with often devastating consequences that can be far-reaching. My ask is for local residents to help us in making their communities safer. Support our young people in making positive choices, by sharing our anti-knife crime message, talking openly with family members and friends, and reporting any information or concerns you have.
“Fortunately, the vast majority of the public don't carry knives or weapons however, if you are someone who does I would urge you to access the support you need to make a positive change for yourself – the risks aren’t worth it.”
If you are concerned or have any information about knife crime, please report it to us online at www.gmp.police.uk or call us on 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.
If you would like to provide information anonymously, call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org
Young people can give information 100% anonymously by contacting the charity Fearless at www.fearless.org. They can also get involved in the I Am Greater campaign, which unites young people against violence by choosing to say ‘violence isn’t me … I am greater’. Find out more at iamgreater.co.uk, where you can also find help and support if you have been involved in, or are experiencing violence.