People in Nottinghamshire have shown their strong support for the fight against knife crime - by taking their chance to remove 635 bladed weapons from circulation.
Nottinghamshire Police and a growing number of partners held a seven-day knife amnesty from 11-17 March, as part of national Operation Sceptre, in a bid to prevent potentially deadly weapons falling into the wrong hands.
And the public response was overwhelmingly and increasingly supportive, with over 200 more knives being handed in than during the previous amnesty in September 2018.
People could drop off the knives at 16 amnesty bins across the county, without fear of prosecution for the duration of the amnesty. They were based at police stations, shared council and police front counters and this time round we even had three locations where there are no police officers based at the building - the Queen's Medical Centre, Gedling Borough Council's Civic Centre in Arnold, and the Bridges Community Trust in The Meadows.
The weapons handed in included swords, machetes, butterfly knives, flick knives, throwing knives, Bowie knives and bayonets.
Chief Superintendent Rob Griffin, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: "I would like to thank everyone in communities across Nottinghamshire who took the chance to dispose of bladed weapons during the amnesty.
"To take 635 weapons out of circulation is a phenomenal response and really shows the strength of feeling among the public and their desire to help tackle this issue.
"Some people question why we hold knife amnesties because criminals don't engage with them. What I would say to that is just look at the weapons that have been handed in - some of these are incredibly dangerous weapons that are designed to cause harm. So every weapon handed in is one less that can fall into the hands of someone who would use it for that purpose.
"Police and partners have a range of tactics to tackle knife crime, from enforcement through the Knife Crime Team to education through Schools and Early Intervention Officers, but amnesties offer a very direct way for the public to play their own part."
The weapons will now be destroyed.
Chief Inspector Donna Lawton, knife crime lead for Nottinghamshire Police, thanked the partner agencies who hosted amnesty bins.
"As well as the support we had last year from Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, Nottingham City Council and the borough and district councils across Nottinghamshire, we were really happy to secure support from two new partner agencies - Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and the Bridges Community Trust - during this operation because it shows that the community as a whole wants to make a difference and is stepping up when it is needed," she said.
"The support of external agencies is also important because some people feel more comfortable handing them in at locations where there are no police officers and for some people it is just more convenient for them. We will continue to explore opportunities to work with even more partners in future amnesties and if there are any organisations who would like to find out more about getting involved please get in touch by calling 101."
Paddy Tipping, Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Every knife that has been handed in is one less potential weapon and in that respect this operation was a great success. But the work doesn’t stop there.
"We are all working, each and every day, to prevent knife crime. That’s why I have budgeted for officers in our schools, it’s why I have applied for additional resources, it’s why I am funding community groups and partners to provide diversionary and awareness programmes. It’s why I have driven a county-wide knife crime strategy, it’s why I have funded a knife crime lead.
"We are tackling this scourge from all angles. But this is a national issue and it needs a national response backed by appropriate resources. The toll is appalling and it has to stop.”
Posted on Thursday 4th April 2019