A successful operation that has led to hundreds of potential weapons being handed in to police in Cumbria is to be held again next week – as part of a national week of action.
People are being given the chance to dispose of unwanted knives during a week-long surrender to make the county even safer.
Operation Sceptre is being held for the second time this year.
In March, more than 280 blades and potential weapons were handed in at police stations in Cumbria.
The surrender will apply countywide and runs between Monday September 16 and Sunday September 22.
During this time the public will be able to anonymously hand in unwanted knives, including knives that are prohibited, to surrender bins at police station front counters.
As part of this year’s operation, test purchases of knives by youths is also being carried out across Cumbria.
This will see volunteer teenagers test shop staff on whether they know the law on the sale of knives.
Staff should not sell to anyone under 18 any blade or any sharply pointed instrument that can cause injury.
Cumbria continues to see a lower number of knife offences than other areas of the UK.
As in other areas of the country, crimes involving the use of blades do happen here.
But there is no sign of a gang culture or youth knife culture developing in Cumbria.
Last year (2018) there were 153 crimes in the county where a knife or sharp instrument was used during the offence – down on 157 the year before.
Superintendent Mark Pannone is leading the initiative in Cumbria again.
He said: “This operation has been a success every time it has been held in Cumbria.
“We have seen hundreds of potentially dangerous blades handed in to police.
“In Cumbria we do not have a specific knife culture or youth gang culture and we consistently see a lower number of incidents than in other areas of the UK.
“But, just like everywhere, knife crime can and does happen here.
“We are extremely aware of this and take the issue very seriously.
“So every time someone hands a knife or blade in during these surrenders that is one fewer knife or blade out there that could hurt someone.
“There is absolutely no reason for people to carry knives in Cumbria to make themselves feel safer.
“So we would urge anyone who wishes to remove or get rid of a knife – perhaps to take it out of the reach of someone they have concerns about – to take advantage of the surrender and hand it in and prevent weapons getting into the hands of criminals.”
Peter McCall, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cumbria, said: “Knife crime is on the rise across the country and it is essential that the police and public work together to help reduce this.
“No one wants to see any of their friends, family, neighbours or colleagues become a victim of knife crime so I would encourage anyone who has a knife, with the intent to use or to protect themselves, to place it in one of the many bins that will be located across Cumbria.
“Handing over an unused knife could save a life – lets work together and make Cumbria an even safer place to live.”
Knife surrender bins will be available at the following police stations between the below times:
- Carlisle (Durranhill) – from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 8pm on the Sunday;
- Penrith (Hunter Lane) – from 9am to 1pm, Monday to Saturday;
- Workington – from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 8pm on the Sunday;
- Whitehaven – from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday;
- Barrow – from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 8pm on the Sunday;
- Kendal – from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday and Saturday, 8am to 12pm.
Anyone wishing to bring knives or weapons for destruction should consider how they are transported to police stations. Please bring them wrapped up or boxed so that they remain safe while being carried. If in doubt, please contact 101 for further advice.