Wiltshire Police is raising awareness about knife crime as part of a national week of action and education.
Operation Sceptre launched on Monday (26/04) and will combine operational activity with an increased awareness-raising on violent crime and what our communities can do to help us tackle it.
We will also be highlighting our ongoing partnership work, including our youth and early intervention work that takes place in schools across Swindon and Wiltshire.
Superintendent Phil Staynings, who oversees policing in Swindon, said: “Thankfully, Wiltshire continues to be a very safe county and the vast majority of people who live here will not be impacted by knife crime.
“However, we do not want to become complacent and we do continue to see a worrying trend amongst some young people, particularly in parts of Swindon, who seem to believe that they need to carry a knife for protection.
“This is often linked to other forms of criminality, such as County Lines and local drug dealing, and we need to do everything we can to safeguard these young people.
“One of our most important tools is our links with our communities. Our Community Policing Teams work hard to forge these links and build trust amongst the public, so that people feel confident reporting issues to us.
“This information and intelligence from the public is the key to identifying vulnerable young people and getting weapons off our streets.”
Officers and staff from Wiltshire Police work with a wide range of partner organisations, including the two local authorities, public health, youth workers and charities, with the aim of coming together to help prevent young people becoming involved in violence.
Our active youth and early intervention team continue to provide support to schools, assisting with specialist and targeted education, designed to help young people understand the dangers of carrying a knife.
Chief Constable Kier Pritchard said: “Tackling violent crime and keeping people safe is a priority for this Force and we have various teams of police officers and staff who are working diligently to make this happen.
“I want you to have confidence in Wiltshire Police, and I particularly want you to have the confidence to speak to us about what is happening in your local community.
“Preventing violent crime, specifically the issue of young people carrying weapons, is something we have to work together on, and I would urge anyone with worries, concerns or information, to reach out to us. We are committed to making our streets safer.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson said: “I know that both locally and nationally there is concern amongst our communities about knife crime, particularly where young people are involved.
“But I know that the Force is committed to tackling all strands of vulnerability, and this includes the types of criminality that often come hand in hand with violence – illegal drugs and child exploitation.
“We need to ensure there is support available to provide alternative routes for young people who could find themselves drawn into the world of crime, and we need to tackle the root causes to keep all young people safe.”
If you have information about youth violence in your community then please call Wiltshire Police's non-urgent number 101. If a crime is in progress, then call 999. You can also provide information anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.