MORE than 400 knives have been taken off the streets of Wiltshire after a police initiative to tackle knife crime.
The blades were handed in across the county during Operation Sceptre, a national policing initiative which ran from May 15 to 27.
Knives were placed in 12 surrender bins across the county, with a total of 439 knives and bladed articles handed in, including 173 in Swindon.
Alongside the surrender campaign, Wiltshire Police officers conducted a range of activities – from tackling the root causes of knife crime through to enforcement.
Officers visited schools and gave presentations to young people on the risks of carrying knives, conducted community engagement events, weapons sweeps, took knife arches to schools, and proactively patrolled in areas of high demand around gang violence.
Insp David Tippetts said: “It has been a positive two weeks of action across Wiltshire and I’m pleased with the number of knives that have been handed in across the county.
“It demonstrates that the public is aware of the dangers of knife crime and are determined to proactively reduce the likelihood of violent incidents, the kind of which we have seen in recent months in Swindon and other towns in Wiltshire.
“Knife crime remains a complex issue and is not a problem which policing can tackle alone.
“It’s been really positive to see all the different examples where we are working in collaboration with partner organisations to address some of the root causes and support young people in making informed choices.”
Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Philip Wilkinson, added: “Operation Sceptre has taken a broad and comprehensive approach to tackling knife crime, and the amount of proactive work undertaken by Wiltshire Police over the past few weeks has led to many weapons being surrendered.
“Each knife taken off the streets is a step towards making the streets of Wiltshire safer.
“We have engaged with local schools, community groups and charities to educate our young people and challenge the misconception that carrying a knife or weapon makes people seem big or clever by demonstrating that the consequences are serious and too often fatal.
“Maintaining visibility of officers in areas where there are concerns around knife crime remains a priority for the Chief Constable as part of creating safer public spaces and my priority of reducing violence and serious harm.”