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Suffolk knife crime campaign aiming to end myth around carrying for self-defence

Suffolk police is launching its week of action for Operation Sceptre. Left to right, Inspecter Shawn Wakeling and Sergeant Phil Lee. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Suffolk police is launching its week of action for Operation Sceptre. Left to right, Inspecter Shawn Wakeling and Sergeant Phil Lee. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A week of action will aim to tackle knife crime in Suffolk and dispel myths around carrying blades for protection.

Suffolk police is launching its week of action for Operation Sceptre. Picture: GREGG BROWNSuffolk police is launching its week of action for Operation Sceptre. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Suffolk Constabulary is among 32 forces taking part in Operation Sceptre, running from today to Friday, February 16.

Police are set to reveal how many knives have been deposited, anonymously, as part of the Bin a Blade campaign, launched in 2011.

They will also visit schools and sixth forms to highlight the risks and consequences of carrying a bladed weapon.

Inspector Shawn Wakeling said: “We always maintain a zero tolerance stance on people choosing to carry knives.

Suffolk police is launching its week of action for Operation Sceptre. Picture: GREGG BROWNSuffolk police is launching its week of action for Operation Sceptre. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“We will be educating young people about the myth that carrying a knife keeps them safe. In fact, it makes you more susceptible to being involved in a violent situation.

“We will provide real-life accounts and show them blades that have been given to us.

“This will all be done alongside visible patrols.”

Bin a Blade was launched in partnership with Holly Watson, whose brother Lewis was stabbed to death, aged 23, on a night out in Sudbury in 2009.

Since the campaign launched, more than 19,000 knives have been deposited in amnesty bins across the county – at locations including Lowestoft, Ipswich, Sudbury, Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill and Mildenhall.

In the year ending September 2017, police recorded 356 crimes involving possession of weapons – a 13pc increase on the previous 12 months, according to the latest Home Office statistics.

Figures recently released showed 245 knife and sharp instrument offences were recorded in Suffolk in the year ending March 2017.

Inspector Wakeling said: “Suffolk doesn’t have a huge knife crime problem, but we are not naive to potential for it to grow.

“This is not just about one week of action.”

As well as teaching young people the dangers of carrying a knife, the operation will target offenders and remind businesses that selling certain knives to under-18s is illegal.

This week, major retailers including Tesco, Lidl, Amazon, Wilko, Argos, Morrisons, Asda, Poundland, Sainsbury’s, John Lewis, Waitrose, Boots, Aldi, Co-Op, B&Q, TK Maxx and Debenhams agreed to adhere to a set of principles to prevent the underage sale of knives in stores and through websites.

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