Hertfordshire Constabulary took part in a national knife amnesty between February 12 and 18 receiving a good haul of unwanted knives and other potential weapons.
The amnesty was part of a national campaign, Operation Sceptre, being run by police forces across the country to reduce the number of illegal knives in circulation.
Due to an increase in knife-related incidents in Hertfordshire over the last year, the amnesty provided a great opportunity to issue some strong messages and advice about the risks of carrying a knife in public.
During the amnesty 144 knives were deposited in the bins at police stations in Hatfield (48), Stevenage (53) and Watford (43) which included swords, military knives, knuckle dusters and a large amount of kitchen knives. Sixteen knives were also surrendered at an event in Waltham Cross which ran between February 14 and 16.
Other activities carried out during the campaign included test purchasing operations with cadets, to ensure retailers were adhering to laws regarding knife sales to those under 18.
A knife arch was used at a Watford night club, where over 200 people were searched and one knife was detected and confiscated. Weapon sweeps were carried out with in various parts of Stevenage, Watford and Waltham Cross, but no weapons were found.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, David Lloyd, said: “Across the country knife related crime has been on the increase, and whilst the number of incidents in Hertfordshire remains low, we must take steps to keep our communities safe. The amnesty has provided the police with the opportunity to raise awareness of this issue, and we are working on longer term plans to educate young people in the county about the dangers of knives and making sure anyone caught carrying a knife will be arrested.”
Detective Chief Inspector Doug Black who led the campaign, said: “We have had a great response from the public who have been very positive towards our plans to tackle knife related incident in the county. This campaign has been a good starting point and we have reduced the number of knives in circulation and we have carried out a number of knife detection and test purchasing operations.
“Longer term we will be focussing more resources on dealing with this issue, working to raise awareness and educate young people about the about the dangers of carrying knives.”