Guest article – North Wales Police
Monday 13 November marked the launch of Operation Sceptre – a national knife crime week of action that will run until Sunday 19 November 2023.
Operation Sceptre, is a national initiative that takes place twice a year co-ordinated by the National Police Chief’s Council. The operation aims to raise awareness of knife crime and the police action in detecting, reducing and preventing it.
Officers undertake a range of activities including targeted operations, engagement and education to reassure young people they are safer not carrying knives, and to walk away from harm.
The week of action is also an opportunity for people to surrender any knives or any bladed articles that could be used as a weapon at one of the amnesty bins located at the following:
Police Station Front Counters:
- Colwyn Bay
- Bangor Recycling Centre, Llandygai Ind. Estate, Bangor LL57 4YH
- Cibyn Recycling Centre, Caernarfon, LL55 2DB
- Harlech Recycling Centre, Ffridd Rasus Harlech, LL46 2UW
- Dolgellau Recycling Centre, Ffordd Y Bala, Dolgellau, LL40 2YF
- Gwalchmai Recycling Centre, Gwalchmai, Holyhead, LL65 4PW
- Penhesgyn Recycling Centre, B5420, Menai Bridge, LL59 5RY.
- Mochdre Recycling Centre, LL28 4YL
- Abergele Recycling Centre, LL22 9SE
- Rhyl Recycling Centre, LL18 2AT
- Denbigh Recycling Centre, LL18 2AT
- Ruthin Recycling Centre, LL15 1LY
- Bryn Lane Household Recycling Centre, Wrexham Industrial Estate, LL13 9UT
- Lodge Household Recycling Centre, Brymbo, Wrexham, LL11 5NR
- Plas Madoc Household Recycling Centre, Wrexham, LL14 3ES
- Greenfield Recycling Centre, Holywell, CH8 7GJ
Inspector Geraint Richards of North Wales Police’ Prevention Hub said: “We must ensure that we are doing everything we can to reinforce the message that carrying a knife is unacceptable and that no good can come from carrying one.
“Every incident involving a knife has consequences for all those involved, and so this is an issue we take extremely seriously.
“We take a robust approach to anyone found to be illegally in possession of a knife or bladed article on the streets and I would encourage everyone to take the opportunity to rid yourselves of any unwanted or illegal weapons by taking them to our knife amnesty bins which are located at our police station front counters.
“Knives are dangerous and there is no place for them on the streets of North Wales. Carrying knives or other weapons do not keep you safe. By carrying a knife you are putting yourself in much greater danger, and more likely to become involved in a violent situation and get injured yourself.
He added: “Whilst the causes and drivers of knife crime are complex, early intervention and putting in place measures to tackle the root causes are absolutely essential. We are committed to taking a collaborative approach to tackle knife crime across north Wales and we will continue to build on the already successful work with our partners and communities.”
Retailers have an important role to play in tackling knife crime by ensuring that knives are not falling into the wrong hands. With this, officers will be visiting local retail stores to “knowledge check” staff regarding the sales of knives and the ‘Challenge 25 ID’ approach.
Inspector Richards added: “A large part of the police’s work is out in communities and schools; educating young people on the impact that knives can have not just on individuals, but on families and communities through education programmes such as SchoolBeat. This work will continue throughout the week with School Community Police Officers vising schools and colleges to highlight the risks and consequences of carrying a knife.
“We are also asking parents, guardians and extended family members, to talk to young family members about knife crime as you can play a vital role in preventing them from becoming involved. We advise you try and talk to them openly about the dangers, as well as the life-changing consequences that come from carrying a knife.
“We are grateful for the support from our partners and communities and together, we will continue to work towards removing knives and dangerous weapons and bring those responsible, for carrying and using them, to justice.”
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin said: “Operation Sceptre is an example of how police are raising awareness and taking action around knife crime, and is a campaign I support wholeheartedly.
“This type of crime should have no place in society and while offences with knives remain thankfully low in North Wales, it is important for us all to act to drive them down still further.
“As Police and Crime Commissioner delivering safer neighbourhoods is as a key priority within my plan to combat crime and build resilient communities. Initiatives like Operation Sceptre show how we can educate and spread the messages that we all need to hear around the dangers of carrying and using knives, and the pain they cause for victims, their families and the wider community. Knife crime can damage and end lives and it is vital that we work together to stop it in its tracks.”
If you have concerns about someone you know or care about, who is carrying or hiding a knife call the Police on 101 or CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or the Fearless campaign website https://www.fearless.org/en/give-info . Always dial 999 in an emergency.
Social media users can follow the campaign via the #OpSceptre hashtag