Nearly 200 knives voluntarily handed in to Lancashire Police in just five days
More than 180 knives have been handed into police in Lancashire as part of a major campaign aimed at tackling knife crime.
Operations Sceptre, which took place between March 11 and March 15, has been hailed as a success after dozens of weapons were handed into police stations across the county.During the five-day surrender, people were able to anonymously hand in knives and blades to 'knife bins' at front counters.
A total of 182 knives were handed in during the amnesty. The illegal weapons will now likely be melted down and destroyed.Det Ch Supt Neil Ashton, of Lancashire Police, said: “This operation highlights the issue of knife crime and offers the opportunity for people who may be worried about a knife in their possession –or the possession of someone close to them – to hand them over. "Many potentially dangerous blades have been handed in from members of the public and now cannot be used to hurt anybody.“We know that over half of offences involving a knife happen in a private space and in most cases the offender was known to the victim, with a partner or family member often the perpetrator. “We take all reports of offences involving a knife extremely seriously and we will continue to use all the powers at our disposal – such as Section 60 orders, which allows us to use stop and search powers – in areas where we identify there is an issue. “We are committed to keeping our communities safe and tackling violent crime is a priority for us. We will continue to work 24/7 and 365 days of the year and to act on intelligence.”
On Wednesday, March 27, Lancashire Police admitted that it needed help in combating knife-related crime in Preston and Penwortham after a series of violent incidents.
Test purchasing operations were also carried out as part of the action against knife crime, with the force using volunteers to check on businesses selling knives or blades. Officers and trading standards will now work with the owners of premises which failed to resolve the issues, improve their standards and amend the training staff receive. Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner added: “I'm pleased that this knife surrender has seen many knives handed in to the police, with our communities safer as a result. “Knives are deadly weapons and during this surrender we have seen these removed from our streets.
"Carrying a knife is illegal and the police have been clear that you will be arrested and prosecuted if you are caught with one. “National drives such as this help to reduce crime and re-offending, which is a key priority in my Police and Crime Plan - they make our communities safer and can help avoid the tragic impact that knife crime has on people's lives.”
Lancashire knife crime in numbers
April 2015 to March 2016 – total number of recorded crimes 16178. Total involving knives 649 (4 per cent) April 2016 to March 2017 – total number of recorded crimes 19056. Total involving knives 879 (4.6 per cent) April 2017 to March 2018 – total number of recorded crimes 22530. Total involving knives 914 (4 per cent) Between April and December 2018, police recorded 849 crimes where a knife or sharp instrument was used.
This is an increase of 167 from 682 recorded in the same period of the previous year or 19.6 per cent.