Sussex Police launch summer operation to tackle knife crime
Main article content
A Sussex Police operation aimed at tackling knife crime and serious violence in the summer months launches today (Thursday 20 July).
Operation Valley will support the ongoing work of Operation Safety, the force’s dedicated response to serious violence, over a six-week period from July 20 to August 26.
Across Sussex, both uniformed and plain-clothed officers will deploy to identified hotspot areas at the peak demand and high-risk times: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of each week, between 2pm and 10pm.
It is an intelligence-led operation, and these areas will change each week dependent on recent incidents, developments in investigations, and the analytical input of the Op Safety team.
Chief Inspector Simon Yates, the force’s lead for knife crime and serious violence, said: “Reducing serious violence is a police priority and we are continually working to tackle this. Knife crime has tragic consequences and leaves a devastating impact in its wake, affecting victims, loved ones, and whole communities. We are committed to removing dangerous perpetrators and weapons from our streets, to keep our county a safe place to live, work, and visit.”
The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows that Sussex recorded 55 knife offences per 100,000 population in the year ending December 2022; the national average stands at 85 per 100,000, based on the 39 forces who use this recording method.
He added: “Op Valley is an opportunity to target areas where we see spikes in criminality throughout the summer. Officers will carry out high-visibility and plain-clothed patrols, execute warrants, and use knife arches to disrupt and prosecute offenders. We will also carry out intelligence-led stop and search where people are suspected of being involved in violent crime.
“As well as enforcement action, we continue to engage with communities and work closely with partner agencies to offer diversion schemes and signposting to support services. If you have any concerns, contact us so that we can offer this support.”
Various engagement and diversion activities will take place across Sussex during Op Valley. Albion in the Community are offering a free football programme at the Eastbourne Sports Park, partly funded by Op Safety: from 1-24 August, young people aged 11+ can just turn up on any Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday from 12midday.
We also continue to work closely with young people and partners to identify the underlying reasons why a person may carry a knife, and to raise awareness of the consequences of doing so.
Young people can receive and report information around knife crime anonymously via Fearless.org.
Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “Whilst Sussex Police diligently tackles knife-crime and serious violence all year-round, the dedicated six-week period of Operation Valley provides a sharp, intelligence-led focus for officers as they continue to make our streets safer.
“We know that the summer season means more people are out and about and we want them to be able to enjoy the weather and all the exciting spaces our county has to offer free from fear or harm. Having this operation in specific areas sends a clear and direct message to criminals that Sussex has a zero tolerance approach to knife crime and serious violence.”
Members of the public are encouraged to report information to police either online or by calling 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency. Information can be reported anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or Childline on 0800 1111.