Operation Sceptre: tackling knife crime
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Operation Sceptre, is a national campaign which takes place twice a year, supporting the work Sussex Police carry out all year round to ensure residents are safe from knife crime in their communities.
The campaign comprises a mix of targeted operational and educational activities to remove unwanted knives off the streets of Sussex, and to reassure young people they are safer not carrying knives and walking away from harm.
Officers throughout Sussex are undertaking activity across the County in collaboration with partners such as British Transport Police, Crimestoppers, nightclubs and bars, crime reduction and community safety partnerships, schools, colleges, Trading Standards and youth services.
Among a range of activities, Sussex Police will be using appropriate stop and search powers, as well as carrying out “test purchasing” operations, using cadets. These targeted operations, supported by Trading Standards, will see if knives are sold to under 18 year olds. There will also be days of action with BTP in relation to knife crime identifying those operating County lines (drug lines between cities and towns), as well as those who are being exploited.
There is also a knife amnesty where people are encouraged to drop off their dangerous or unwanted knives and blades at police stations across Sussex. These amnesty bins are in place all year round, and there will be no consequences if weapons are disposed of safely here.
Knife amnesty bins are located at the following stations: Worthing (Chatsworth Road), Shoreham, Chichester, Bognor, Littlehampton, Midhurst, Horsham, Crawley, Eastbourne, Lewes, Seaford, Newhaven, Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill, East Grinstead, Hastings, Bexhill, Battle, Rye, Hailsham, Uckfield, Crowborough, Brighton. Details of the stations, including opening hours, locations and accessibility, can be found here.
Police officers are also holding educational and engagement events across schools, colleges and youth events, to raise awareness of the issues of knife crime, the devastating impact on victims and to address the fears that young people have and the consequences of carrying a knife.
For people tempted to carry a knife
Are you under pressure from others to carry a knife? You may already be carrying a knife and want to know how to dispose of it safely, with no questions asked. You may have injured someone, and want to know what you need to do next.
If you feel threatened, unsafe or scared about becoming a victim of knife crime consider:
- You are more likely to come to harm if you carry a knife
- Walking away from threats of violence
- Talk to Childline for help on 0800 11 11 or go online at childline.org.uk
- Contact Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org
- Calling 101 to speak with your local Prevention Team for advice. In an emergency always call 999.
It is illegal to carry a knife or to try to buy a knife under the age of 18. The police can stop and search anyone they suspect of carrying a knife, the maximum penalty for which is 4 years in prison and an unlimited fine. An automatic prison sentence is handed to anyone convicted twice of carrying a knife.
If someone you are with uses a knife while you are with them you could get the same sentence.
Having a criminal record could stop you entering your chosen college or university, getting a job and could place restrictions on you travelling to some countries like the USA.
If you’ve injured someone or you have been with someone who has injured someone:
- The best thing you can do is to let us know. Contact us online or call 101 to speak with your local Prevention Team for advice. The consequences could become much worse if you are found out later. In an emergency always call 999.
- If you want to give information about crimes or criminal activity, you can call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111
For parents and carers
Some young people carry a knife because they are worried about becoming a victim of knife crime. Unfortunately, carrying a knife only increases their chance of becoming hurt.
The easiest and most common place for young people to get a knife is from the family home. If you think something isn’t quite right then consider other less obvious warning signs, including:
- They have become withdrawn
- Their school or college is reporting worrying changes in their behaviour, or their grades have suddenly dropped
- They have lost interest in hobbies and are vague about their movements
- They have changed their group of friends, perhaps to an older network
- Suddenly secretive about their belongings
There are other reasons why young exhibit these behaviours and not knife related but if you spot any of the above, talk to them now. Discuss their views on knife crime, and whether they would ever consider carrying a knife. Discover if they feel safe when they go out, and if not, why not?
Find the ideal time and location to talk to them about knife crime. Provide them with reassurance, and be patient. Remind them they do have choices, and that you are there to support them, always. Try to cover:
- the dangers – carrying a knife makes your more likely to get harmed.
- the facts – the police can stop and search anyone they suspect to be carrying a knife.
- the law – it is illegal to try and buy a knife under the age of 18, and the maximum penalty for carrying a knife is 4 years in prison and an unlimited fine. An automatic prison sentence is handed to anyone convicted twice of carrying a knife.
- the consequences – a criminal record can change your life – you may not be offered a college or university place. Getting a job will be made more difficult and it can even disrupt travel to some countries.
Make sure they know that the safest thing to do if threatened by a knife is to walk away.