Greater Manchester Police continue to ramp up efforts to tackle serious violence and knife crime across Greater Manchester
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Recorded knife crime offences across Greater Manchester fell last year with crime involving knives and sharp instruments in the 12 months to January 2023 showing a reduction of 3.8%. For this period, GMP recorded 168 fewer offences than the previous year.
Greater Manchester Police is committed to further reducing the number of knife-crime related offences.
Following additional investment, a dedicated team – Operation Venture – was formed in early December 2022, to respond at a rapid pace to combat the threat of knife crime.
The team maps out knife crime hotspots and threats across geographical locations and uses a range of tactics to detect and deter knife-related crime in neighbourhoods across Greater Manchester.
They conduct patrols in hotspot areas, execute warrants to target offenders known to carry knives and conduct weapons sweeps in areas known for discarding knives.
Although the team has only been in place for a few months, it is already seeing strong results across the force including 50 arrests and 60 positive stop-searches which has led to 20 weapons being seized across Greater Manchester and taken off the streets.
Operation Venture also works closely with the Transport Unit to deploy knife arches at transport hubs to detect and deter people from carrying weapons and drugs on Greater Manchester transport links.
Operation Venture is also supported by local operations such as Operation Avro, which is GMP’s monthly blitz on crime and national operations like Operation Sceptre which sees a range of activities taking place across the country to ensure communities are safe from knife crime.
Superintendent Caroline Hemingway, GMP’s force lead for knife crime, said: “GMP view every knife on the streets of Greater Manchester as a problem and our mission is to come down hard on violence to ensure our communities feel safer.
“In recent months there have been a number of high-profile knife-related incidents where individuals have tragically lost their lives. These incidents understandably cause a great deal of concern and whilst I would like to draw out the reduction in knife-crime related offences over the last year, I understand the impact these incidents have caused. Behind every single one of these statistics is a family and a community that are deeply affected by knife crime.
“I would like to reassure communities across Greater Manchester that GMP will continue to do everything in our power to fight knife crime. The Operation Venture team is a great example of this - the team is made up of officers that come from Greater Manchester themselves so they really want to make an impact by protecting communities from serious violence.
“GMP also draws support from many dedicated partners and are part of the wider Violence Reduction Unit, which is a co-ordinated partnership that works tirelessly to combat knife crime and violent crime across Greater Manchester.
“This partnership addresses the underlying causes of violence and helps ensure young people are educated on the dangers of knife crime and are supported to make better choices. It also helps ensure that those being exploited by criminals are referred to the proper safeguarding services. From here interventions can be put in place to help prevent them from becoming repeat offenders.
“However, whilst enforcement has a vital part to play in reducing knife crime, GMP needs the help and support of communities from across Greater Manchester to tackle the issue.
“We know that early intervention is key to guiding young people away from violence. We need parents to have conversations with children about the dangers of carrying knives and make them aware that by carrying a knife, they are statistically more likely to be injured by their own knife.
“We need everyone to come together and if you know that someone is carrying a knife, you need to report that to the police for their safety and for the safety of everyone else.
“Please share any concerns or intelligence with GMP that could assist in tackling knife-related crime. Alternatively you can contact the independent Charity Crimestoppers anonymously. “
Kate Green, Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire, said: “There is no place for knife crime or violence of any nature in Greater Manchester and any incident is a real concern. The latest data available shows we have made some progress, but we still have a long way to go and will continue to work hard to keep people safe.
“A big part of our approach in Greater Manchester is educating those who might be at risk of offending to help them make the right decisions. Since launching in 2019, Greater Manchester’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has commissioned and supported education programmes in schools across the city region. We have also developed relationships with local schools through School Engagement Officers and local neighbourhood officers, who have been educating pupils around the dangers and consequences of knife crime, not only for victims, but their families and the wider community too.
“With voluntary organisations across Greater Manchester, the VRU has also launched eight community-led programmes across the city-region, with two others launching soon – one in each district - tailored to the local community’s needs. They work closely with communities to deliver peer mentor sessions, family work, school sessions, street work sessions, training workshops, and much more.
“Another way we’re making a difference is through the Greater Manchester Navigator Programme, which launched in 2021 to work with young people aged 10-25, to help them cope and recover from their experience of violence and assist with access to local support networks to prevent the potential of further violence. It initially rolled out in four hospitals across Greater Manchester, but has now been expanded to include referrals from North West Ambulance Service, and community (including police) referrals. To date, project has supported over 500 young people to turn their lives around and secure positive futures away from crime.
“In addition to this, we can all play a part in keeping people across Greater Manchester safe. If you are concerned about someone and believe there is a risk they might harm someone with a knife or another weapon, please report it. You could be saving someone’s life.”
Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Crimestoppers also have a dedicated website which enables 11 – 17 year olds to pass on information anonymously – this can be accessed through Fearless.org