More than a quarter of retailers sold knives to children in police operation

A week of action will take place in Weston. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

A week of action will take place in Weston. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary - Credit: Archant

MORE than a quarter of retailers sold knives to children during an undercover police operation.

Last week, Avon and Somerset Police took part in Operation Sceptre, a national week of action which saw police across the country intensify efforts to reduce the number of knives on the streets.

During the operation, officers oversaw test purchases at 82 retailers, with 22 selling knives to a child.

The retailers have been, or will be, issued with guidance and warning notices from the police.

Other results from the operation included:

  • 32 weapons sweeps resulting in the recovery of 16 knives
  • 127 knives surrendered to 14 bins across the force area
  • 22 community meetings and educational visits to schools and youth groups
  • 20 intelligence led high visibility patrols in areas of high demand
  • Six community leaflet drops informing about the change to the Offensive Weapons Act – making items that were previously legal to possess in private now illegal
  • Social media campaign with a reach of 150k impressions, using pop up ads in specific apps targeting 12 to 25 year olds, signposting them to anonymous knife crime reporting via Fearless.org

Avon and Somerset Police’s lead for knife crime, Chief Inspector James Turner, said: “There are now 145 fewer knives that could be used to cause serious harm on our streets,  as a direct result of last week’s operation.

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“Of course, our work to tackle knife crime goes on all year round. There’s a number of projects and areas of focus we are pursuing as we head into 2022, including working with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and local communities to consider where and how we can make more knife surrender bins available.  

"We’re also upscaling the delivery of our Blunt Truth workshops so that more schools and community groups in Avon and Somerset can benefit from this fantastic project.

“The causes of knife crime are complex and multi-faceted. The results of last week’s operation show that enforcement does have a strong role to play in making our streets safer.  

"Alongside this, we continue to work with our communities and other partners to pursue a multiagency approach based on early intervention and diversion, so that young people don’t get mixed up in activity which could lead to them or their friends coming to serious harm.”

For more information on how the police are tackling knife crime and serious violence, as well as locations of our knife surrender bins and details of support services, visit www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/knifecrime

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