Sussex Police seized dozens of weapons and thousands of drugs in a summer crackdown on knife crime
Main article content
Police seized weapons and thousands of pounds worth of drugs during a crackdown on knife crime and serious violence this summer.
In six weeks, officers seized more than 25 knives and offensive weapons and made 37 arrests. They carried out 100 stop searches, seized more than £50,000 of Class A drugs, and recovered £16,000 cash.
On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings between 20 July and 26 August, Sussex Police worked with community partners and stakeholders to remove knives from the streets of Sussex and provide engagement and education opportunities for young people.
The activity complements the force’s year-round activity to combat knife crime and serious violence, known as Operation Safety, which has a primary focus on reducing knife crime committed in public spaces against young people.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Yates, force lead for knife crime and serious violence, said: “Our officers’ work this summer has highlighted the importance of our fight against knife crime. We have removed offensive weapons, harmful substances, and dangerous offenders from the streets of Sussex and will continue to do so 365 days a year.
“Whilst seizing weapons is our ultimate goal, engaging with our communities and speaking with young people is key in diverting from criminality. Working with partners, we can offer support and guidance to anyone concerned about knife crime – whether that’s for themselves or on behalf of someone else.”
Both uniformed and plain-clothed officers carried out patrols, stop searches, and warrants, and used knife arches and wands to disrupt criminal activity.
In West Sussex, officers seized 22 weapons and made 20 arrests. Police also recovered £41,440 of Class A drugs, £7,530 of Class B drugs, and £14,018 of cash.
Across East Sussex, Operation Valley teams recovered £7,040 of Class A drugs, £12,810 of Class B drugs, and £1,200 of cash. Eleven arrests were made and four weapons were removed.
Officers in Brighton and Hove made five arrests and seized £2,640 of Class A drugs, £930 of Class B drugs, and more than £1,000 of cash.
Alongside the operational activity, officers engaged with the local community to address concerns and educate young people about the severity of carrying a knife, meeting and speaking with more than 2,500 people during the course of the operation.
Throughout August, Sussex Police teamed up with the Brighton and Hove Albion Foundation to deliver free football sessions in Eastbourne, attracting more than 350 attendees. Three afternoons a week youngsters aged 11+ were able to train and play the game with the Premier League Kicks Programme, part-funded by Operation Safety.
The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that Sussex recorded 57 knife offences per 100,000 population in the year ending March 2023. This is below the national average for England and Wales, where the average is 87 offences per 100,000 population.
Knife crime in Sussex also remains below levels recorded in the pre-coronavirus pandemic year ending March 2020. In the year ending March 2023, there were 971 recorded knife crime offences in Sussex, with levels remaining similar to the previous year of 964. During the same period, knife crime has increased on average by 5% nationally in England and Wales. Compared to the pre-coronavirus pandemic year ending March 2020, there has been a 16% reduction in knife-enabled crime in Sussex.
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, said: “Every day Sussex Police work hard to reduce knife-related crimes in our county. Senseless stabbings can be deadly or life changing and they make our communities fearful. The summer crackdown, in addition to the on-going year-round operation, has seen dangerous weapons seized and thousands of pounds worth of drugs taken off of the streets.
“We must continue to proactively tackle knife crime and provide education and intervention programmes. It is not just about raising awareness of the severity of the crime, but also about encouraging people to report those they know who carry a weapon. As I have said before, lose the knife, not a life.”
To find out more about the dedicated work tackling serious violence and knife crime in Sussex, visit our web page. Young people can receive and report information around knife crime anonymously via Fearless.org.
You can also talk to someone anonymously by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Contact the police online or by calling 101 – always dial 999 in an emergency.