Today - 15 May - marks the start of Operation Sceptre, a national initiative to tackle knife crime.
For two weeks Wiltshire Police will coordinate activity which targets knife crime from the root cause right through to enforcement.
Whether it’s engaging with local communities, working with young people to dispel myths around knives or carrying out test purchases with retailers, the force says Op Sceptre showcases the many varied and impactful ways in which it is working to reduce knife crime and tackle violence.
This iteration of Op Sceptre will run for two weeks across Wiltshire, and will feature a knife surrender campaign to encourage the public, particularly young people, to hand in any knives they have in surrender bins in Swindon and across the county.
Swindon's surrender bins are at Swindon Police Station, Christ Church and Pinetrees Community Centre.
Neighbourhood inspector for Swindon David Tippetts said: “Since its launch in 2015, Operation Sceptre has galvanised activity, dedicating a week to intensified activity twice a year.
“This doesn’t mean we only look at this twice a year, but Sceptre is an opportunity to really focus on our efforts to tackle knife crime at a number of levels – from engaging with young people in schools to proactive patrols and knife sweeps.
“This time around, we will be running a knife surrender campaign across two weeks, where people around Swindon and the county will be encouraged to hand in knives and bladed weapons they are carrying.
“By carrying a knife, you are putting yourself and the people around you, such as your family and friends, at risk, and making different decisions – while often the hardest thing to do – is the safest.
“As ever, partnership working is integral to our approach and this week will also shine a spotlight on the many initiatives where Wiltshire Police joins charities and local organisations to bring real change for our communities.
“This is an ongoing mission and one which needs collective ambition, energy and patience.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Wilkinson said: “The dangers of carrying a knife and the consequences being life changing and sometimes tragic cannot be over emphasised.
“The proactive work of Wiltshire Police to maintain a highly visible presence in areas where there are concerns around knife crime, underpins the Chief Constable’s priority of creating safe public spaces and my priority of reducing violence and serious harm.
“But this work needs to be supported by our early intervention team along with schools, charities, community groups, our local councils and the health service to ensure the education about the dangers of carrying a knife reaches beyond the classroom.
“Operation Sceptre is an opportunity to highlight the vital work they do on a daily basis.”
As well as Op Sceptre, Wiltshire Police is continuing to provide extra focus and visibility in Swindon to tackle the recent rise in violence.
The force says it is committed to working with communities to protect people from harm, and will hold people to account for their harmful actions.
During campaigns like these, the force says, it needs communities more than ever to pull together and support the police in giving evidence about those who carry knives.
People can contact the force on 101, via www.wiltshire.police.uk or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
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