TEAMS from across the force are carrying out activity across Essex this week under the nationwide Operation Sceptre (Monday, February 12 to Friday, February 16).
Every day of the year, our officers deal with knife related crime, and Op Sceptre’s February week of action is a chance to highlight our ongoing work targeting and disrupting offenders.
Operation Sceptre – which is led by the Metropolitan Police – is aimed at those who carry and use knives, with the added objective of cracking down on the supply, access and importation of weapons.
It is part of our ongoing work with partners to tackle gang crime and associated gang activity, as well as other violent crime, including domestic abuse.
Throughout the county, officers and Special Constables from local policing teams, the Operational Support Group and Operation Raptor teams, will be executing warrants, carrying out roadside checks and high-visibility patrols.
Where appropriate, they will be using intelligence-led stop and search powers.
They will also be working with Trading Standards teams to raise awareness among shop owners about the importance of challenging underage customers and selling knives and bladed objects within the law.
Knife crime increased by 21% nationally in 2017, and Essex as a county saw a 26% rise in knife crime between June 2016 and June 2017.
Assistant Chief Constable, Andy Prophet, said:
“Carrying a knife or bladed item means you could receive a prison sentence of up to 4 years.
“We know how concerned our communities are about knife crime.
“In Essex, as in the rest of the country, knife-related crime has gone up.
“Enforcement alone will not prevent more young people becoming involved in this type of crime. For those involved in drugs or gangs the threat of violence is something that hangs over them every day: an arrest does not necessarily act as a deterrent.
“Education is often the most effective way of changing the behaviour of those caught up in gang life or knife carrying.
“We are committed to steering people away from the knife-carrying culture, and making clear that there is help available to move away from a path that all too often results in prison or a coffin.”
“During last July’s Operation Sceptre, we seized a broad range of weapons spanning from a machete to an iron bar. A total of 40 people were arrested, 74 retail premises were visited, and officers also visited 50 schools throughout the county.
“Make no mistake, the fight against knife crime is a significant one. It is both a daily battle and a long term challenge. An important part of this is about the public reporting concerns and incidents to us, and actively getting behind preventative measures, such as education in schools.
“We would also encourage young people worried about knife crime to find out about Fearless.org.
“Crucially, if you know someone who carries a weapon, please tell us – keeping quiet helps no one and even worse, puts people in danger.”
For more information about knife crime in Essex, visit: www.essex.police.uk/knifecrime