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Along with police forces nationally, we’ve spent this week (23rd – 27th March) cracking down on knife crime as part of our continued effort to tackle serious violence.
What is Operation Sceptre?
Operation Sceptre is a national anti-knife crime campaign implemented twice a year. Activity is focused on taking knives off our streets and ultimately reducing the number of people involved in knife crime.
This is a week-long operation, usually cumulating of educational talks in schools, weapon searches, area specific knife sweeps, warrants, high vis and plain clothed patrols amongst other activity including officers patrolling on quad bikes, teaming up with local metal detectorists and undertaking test purchases.
Sadly, this week, we have had to reduce our contact with the public due to Covid-19 but that hasn’t stopped officers from our local policing teams and Op Target teams, who form our response to all serious violence, continuing to use investigative skills to target criminals, acting on information provided to us by the public and undertake other operational activity.
As a result of all of our policing activity, from July 2019 to 15th March 2020, we have successfully arrested 449 people for knife crime offences (however this figure is not including possession of a bladed article).
We have seized 300 knives and 44 bladed articles from the public and we have also recovered 136 knives and 17 bladed articles from open land searches, seized 359 knives during searches of various addresses and had 275 knives handed in by members of the public.
This week alone, we have conducted 62 open land searches where we have recovered 5 knives and 1 bladed article, carried out 56 stop searches where we have also recovered 7 knives, 3 offensive weapons and 1 bladed article and have arrested 23 people, 8 of which specifically in relation to knife crime.
In addition to this, officers also located a cannabis farm in Wallasey worth around £600,000 and enquiries are ongoing to identify the owners.
A 48 year old man has also been charged after he was stop searched in Mill Street, Liverpool and found in possession with intent to supply cocaine, heroin and cannabis and will appear in Court today (27th March).
Chief Inspector Andy Creer said: “Operation Sceptre gives us the chance to stand alongside all other forces and collectively show our commitment to tackling knife crime.
“Our policing activity is about locating those committing crime, carrying weapons, exploiting others and making life a misery for our law-abiding communities.
“We have seen a number of people injured and sadly killed as a result of knife crime. Families and friends have been left behind and those responsible have also lost their freedom.
“People should never carry knives, this doesn’t keep you safe and can often be used against you.
“In the current climate where the Merseyside public feel uncertain, we will continue using increased visible policing to reassure our communities, gain intelligence and disrupt criminal activity.
“Therefore, I’d like to ask the public to continue supporting us and to come forward with information.”
Plans for the future:
Going forward, officers hope to use ‘Serious Violence Reduction Orders’ against habitual knife crime offenders. This will mean that officers have the power to stop and search specific people anywhere, anytime.
In addition to this, a recent change in the offensive weapons act means it is illegal to possess a weapon in your own home. This will again ensure weapons are taken out of circulation and our communities are kept safe.
Young people are also being encouraged to take part in local activities near them and strive for a more positive future than delving into a life of crime. For more information on this, please visit OurMerseyside.org – Help us make Merseyside #BladeFree