Wiltshire Police is reminding people of the latest laws around owning knives as part of a national knife crime campaign.
Operation Sceptre, which launches today (16/05) and runs until Sunday 22 May, will focus on the latest update to the Offensive Weapons Act (2019).
The focus of the week is on the revisions to the law which include:
Changes to buying online, including the change in age verification
Changes to delivery by couriers, including increased age verification
Certain weapons which are now prohibited even in private homes
The week will combine operational police activity including a focus on informing young people, parents, carers, and schools and colleges about the efforts taking place to tackle violent crime.
It's part of the ongoing work of officers and staff with a wide range of stakeholder partners, including the two local authorities, public health, youth workers and charities, with the aim of coming together to help prevent knife crime and protect young people becoming caught up in violence and criminal gangs.
Knife crime priority
Assistant Chief Constable Dave Minty said: "The latest Offensive Weapons Act has been introduced to help protect people from the often devastating consequences of knife crime.
"This type of crime remains a police priority both nationally and in Wiltshire, although thankfully here the number of knife crimes remain comparatively low. However, that doesn’t mean we are complacent in our approach to prevent this type of crime from happening; for those it does affect - directly and indirectly - the consequences can be devastating.
“We know that knife crime often involves our young people, and - although most children and teenagers are not involved in criminal activity, nor would they ever dream of carrying a knife or bladed weapon - we know that possession of knives is on the rise nationally.
"Young people hear about it on the news, they talk about it at school, and we know some, because they tell us, would carry a knife for protection. However, carrying a blade means you are more likely to find yourself in a situation where you could get seriously injured or even killed.
"Operation Sceptre is about us working with our partners as well as the public to educate, engage and prevent knife crime.
"Any incidents of knife crime are a major concern but the public should be reassured that we will continue to vigorously investigate offences linked to any knives or weapons recovered."
Feeling safe in communties
Police and Crime Commissioner, Philip Wilkinson, said: "Whilst Wiltshire Police officers and staff are doing great work to get knives off the streets, and I fully support proactive policing in those areas where it is most likely to occur, more needs to be done to make sure people feel safe in their communities, in addition to actually being safe.
“It’s ultimately through the work of our early intervention teams that we’ll be able to effectively deal with knife crime. Knife crime not only ruins the lives of victims and their families but also of the perpetrators, who, in the majority of cases, are young.
“The Police and law enforcement agencies have their part to play in stopping knife crime, but my office and other bodies must intervene at the earliest opportunity, to make sure that we’re providing positive alternatives and opportunities to those who are at risk and vulnerable to being targeted and drawn in.
“Prevention will always be far better than cure.”
If you have information about someone who carries a knife or is involved knife crimes please call us on 101 or 999 in an emergency. Information can also be left anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.