North Yorkshire Police is taking part in Operation Sceptre, an initiative to tackle knife crime across the UK.
The force will coordinate activity which targets knife crime from the root cause right through to enforcement.
As well as having the aim of taking knives off the streets through intelligence-led patrols and knife amnesty bins, officers will also be working with colleagues nationally to take them offline too, due to increasing concerns about the numbers of knives being bought via the internet.
North Yorkshire Police’s Schools Liaison Team will continue their work with author Christina Gabbitas, delivering early years education about county lines and associated risks, such as carrying knives.
The team’s activities were specifically highlighted for their innovation in the force’s 2022 HMICFRS Inspection, and their work relating to knives and weapons has delivered a reoffending rate as low as 8%.
Throughout the week, knife amnesty bins will be available in police stations for members of the public to dispose of any unwanted knives safely. Wrap them in thick paper or cardboard as a safety precaution, and bring them to police stations in York (Fulford Road), Scarborough, Malton, Northallerton, Harrogate or Skipton. You can deposit the knife in the bin without having to give your name or any other details.
Detective Superintendent Jon Sygrove, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “As police officers we see first-hand the devastating effects of knives and other weapons on the lives of individuals, particularly young people.
“The vast majority of people know that carrying a knife doesn’t protect you – in fact, it puts you in more danger. If a young person carries a knife and gets into an argument, the situation is more likely to get out of control and a weapon is more likely to be used by someone involved. We’re continuing our engagement work to ensure that message is heard and understood.
“If you are worried about someone carrying a knife, you should contact the police by calling 101 or reporting online. If you’d prefer to remain anonymous, you can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or via their website. You could also speak to a family member or trusted adult for advice, and they can help you report your concerns, and you can find more information and support by searching Fearless.org online.
“We’re also continuing our work to restrict the supply chain. Increased training by retailers both local and online, and awareness of the rules around the selling of knives, helps to ensure knives do not end up in the wrong hands to begin with.”
Commander Stephen Clayman, National Police Chiefs’ Council knife crime lead, added: “We have been growing increasingly concerned about the wide range of knives which can be purchased online and while age verification is required for purchases, there is little requirement for additional checks to be made.
“We know there have been several murders in recent years where the knives used have been purchased online and we are also aware that some individuals are buying large quantities and selling them on through social media sites like TikTok and Telegram.
“Op Sceptre will include all of the usual operational tactics including education and engagement activity, knife amnesty bins, weapons sweeps and hot spot patrols but we’re also looking to build a comprehensive picture of online retailers across the country which will help to inform our engagement moving forward.”