Major operation takes haul of knives off Stoke-on-Trent streets

Almost 300 knives have been taken off the streets of Staffordshire as part of a major operation lasting six days. They were recovered from across the county during Operation Sceptre. The operation, which tackles knife-related crime by offering people a way of disposing of blades anonymously, ran from May 16 to to 22.

During the campaign, 250 knives were deposited into surrender bins at Hanley, Longton, Burton-upon-Trent and Cannock Police Stations. Partners such as Chit Chat 4U assisted officers during a series of weapon sweeps, resulting in a total of 35 knives being recovered, eight arrests and a further six blades seized. Trading Standards teams across the county also conducted test purchases across Staffordshire, with all 23 stores tested refusing to sell the knives to those underage.

READ: Woman left with scratches after being grabbed by man with Scouse accent And police also visited a total of 14 schools to spell out the dangers of carrying a knife and urge those at risk of knife crime to get help and support. Chief Inspector Robert Hessell, force lead for knife crime, said: “It’s vitally important that we continue to highlight and encourage conversations around knife crime within our communities.

“This operation was designed to challenge the stereotypes and stigma surrounding knife crime. It is usually the case that the majority of young people will never be affected by knife crime, but encouraging this awareness and providing a safe space for people to ditch their blades, we hope we have helped to continue to make our communities safer.” Operation Sceptre followed the arrival of the 27-foot Knife Angel in Smithfield, Hanley, composed of more than 100,000 knives surrendered throughout similar campaigns across the UK, with 1,800 of those knives surrendered by residents in Staffordshire.

Chief Inspector Hessell said: “The #DitchTheBlade campaign, which ran alongside Operation Sceptre, continues to serve as a platform for parents, carers, teachers and young people to seek specialist help on the issue of knife crime and ensure we continue, as a community, to tackle this together.

By continuing to work closely with our partners and communities, we can ensure we do our part, as a police force, to champion this cause.”

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