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Police launch new operation to combat knife crime

PUBLISHED: 00:01 11 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:00 14 March 2019

Suffolk Police is launching its week of action for Operation Sceptre. Left to right, Inspector Shawn Wakeling and Sergeant Phil Lee. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Suffolk Police is launching its week of action for Operation Sceptre. Left to right, Inspector Shawn Wakeling and Sergeant Phil Lee. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A national week-long operation will be supported by Suffolk police to crack down on gang activity and highlight the risks of carrying a bladed weapon.

More than 22,000 blades have been deposited in knife bins across Suffolk as part of the More than 22,000 blades have been deposited in knife bins across Suffolk as part of the "Bin a Blade" campaign. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Codenamed Operation Sceptre, Suffolk Police will step up their fight against the nationwide epidemic, which is becoming a growing problem in the county, with offences increasing by 25pc in the last five years.

A new knife amnesty bin is also being installed near the junction of Stricklands Road and Ipswich Street in Stowmarket on Monday March 11, becoming the ninth deposit box in the county.

Since the “Bin a Blade” campaign launched in 2011, more than 22,000 bladed items have been deposited in bins in Ipswich, Lowestoft, Bury St Edmunds, Mildenhall, Sudbury and Haverhill.

On launching the campaign, superintendent Kerry Cutler said: “Young people face all sorts of pressures and therefore family, friends and role models are an important influence in their lives.

“Having a conversation with them about the dangers of carrying a knife may be difficult but talking and listening is critical to finding a solution to the growing problem we have seen nationally around knife crime.

“Simply listening and giving time to a young person can encourage them to think about their decisions and behaviour.”

Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner, said: “Operation Sceptre gives the constabulary an opportunity to raise awareness of knife crime and also give people an opportunity to deposit blades safely – I fully support this work.

“Knife crime is a growing problem here in Suffolk and it’s got to stop. Carrying a knife just doesn’t make you safe and sadly, as we all know, it can lead to dreadful consequences.”

The operation comes as officers engage in Operation Velocity, aimed at tackling the so-called ‘county lines’ drug gangs running across the county.

Last month, Tonya Antonis, chief superintendent county policing command, warned that Suffolk is “very much at the forefront”, with five gangs operating in Ipswich and a majority of the gangs operating in the west of the county.

Parents are advised to “have the conversation” with their children, a campaign which warns: “If there’s a knife in your child’s hands, it’s in your hands to stop it.”

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