Hertfordshire Constabulary is taking part in a national knife crime campaign, Operation Sceptre, which aims to rid the UK’s streets of knives.
The amnesty will run between Monday, February 12 and Sunday, February 16, during which members of the public will be able to surrender any unwanted knives to the police anonymously and without fear of prosecution for possession of these items.
Hertfordshire remains one of the safest counties however, these kinds of crimes have been on the increase nationally, with Hertfordshire also experiencing increases in certain recorded knife-related crimes. Knife-related crime refers to any incident where the presence of a knife has been mentioned or implied, even if a knife is not actually seen or no evidence of a weapons is found.
As of January this year recorded offences are currently standing at 399, compared to the 372 recorded over the same period the previous year, which is an increase of just under ten per cent. In many cases the victims and offenders are aged between 13 and 18, with nearly two-thirds of offenders coming from outside of the county.
The amnesty provides an opportunity to educate young people about the dangers of carrying a knife, give crime prevention advice and raise awareness amongst local businesses that selling certain knives to anyone under 18 is illegal.
If you have a knife in your possession that you do not want or should not have, it can be surrendered at one of the following police stations: Hatfield, Stevenage or Watford. During the amnesty you can surrender knives anonymously in the knife bins provided. The locations and opening times of these stations can be found at www.herts.police.uk/policestations
Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd said: “Crime is low in Hertfordshire in comparison to other counties, but unfortunately some types of knife related crime have increased in many parts of the country. Forces around the country are now taking part in Operation Sceptre on a regular basis in response to these increases.
We have seen a good response to this initiative in the past and it has been very effective in reducing the number of knives being carried. Any knives that we can remove from our streets will help to make everyone safer.”
Assistant Chief Constable Bill Jephson said: “Over the past year we have seen an increase in incidents in which a knife has been reported, and many of those recorded will be where a knife has been mentioned rather than used. In most cases these incidents have involved young people, and the amnesty gives us an opportunity to raise awareness, especially among young people, that carrying a knife is not glamourous or tough.
It is illegal and actually makes you more likely to be injured, become involved in a violent incident or be arrested, even if you believe you are acting in self-defence. I would urge any young person who has a knife or is considering carrying one to consider the consequences, you could easily end up in hospital or court.”