Knife crime

Knife crime has tragic consequences to the victim, loved ones and the local community. Sussex is a safe place to live, but we recognise the importance of taking proactive action with our partners and other organisations to keep Sussex safe and feeling safe.

Our response

Everyone has a role to play in tackling knife crime. Sussex Police works closely alongside partners across the county to support our aims of keeping Sussex safe from knife crime.

Our work includes:

  • Working with young people through engagement and education on the consequences of knife crime and reassuring young people they are safer not carrying knives.
  • Use of a specially designed van to engage, inform and educate local communities about the serious risks of knife possession.
  • Targeted operational activity in collaboration with partners such as British Transport Police (BTP), Crimestoppers, nightclubs and bars, crime reduction and community safety partnerships, schools, colleges, and youth services.
  • Carrying out test purchasing operations supported by Trading Standards to see if knives are sold to people under the age of 18.
  • Days of action with partners including 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.

In England, it is illegal to:

  • Sell a knife to anyone under 18, unless it is a knife with a folding blade that is three inches long or less.
  • Carry a knife in public without good reason, unless it is a knife with a folding blade that is three inches long or less.
  • Carry, buy or sell any banned knife.
  • Use any knife in a threatening way, even if it is a legal knife.

The police can stop and search anyone they suspect of carrying a knife, the maximum penalty for which is four years in prison and an unlimited fine.

If someone you are with uses a knife while you are with them you could get the same sentence.

An automatic prison sentence is handed to anyone convicted twice of carrying a knife.

We encourage the public to drop off their dangerous or unwanted knives and blades at our knife amnesty bins.

Knife amnesty bins are available all year round in police stations across Sussex where people are encouraged to safely dispose of knives and blades with no consequences and no questions asked. 

Find details of your local police station, including opening hours and accessibility.

Retailers have an important role to play by helping to ensure that weapons are not falling into the wrong hands.

It is illegal to sell a knife to anyone under the age of 18, and anyone found carrying a knife in public, without a reasonable excuse, faces a prison sentence.

We work with retailers across Sussex to ensure robust controls on the sale of blades, such as kitchen knives, to help them get this right.

Below are some helpful resources to support your business prevent sales of knives to under 18s.

Sussex Police supports Operation Sceptre, a national campaign which takes place twice a year, supporting the work Sussex Police carries 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 and educate young people on the dangers of carrying knives.

We educate young people from an early age about the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife with the aim of preventing young people getting involved in knife crime.

Our neighbourhood youth officers are working to reach young people at the earliest stages to challenge myths on carrying knives.

This is through a range of activities such as school lessons and assemblies, knife arch deployments and use of an engagement van across the county to reassure communities and provide advice.

Sussex is a safe place to live, and we take any reports of knife crime seriously in Sussex so it continues to be.

Find further guidance on our knife crime prevention pages.

If you don’t want to speak to police then contact either Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111 or Fearless.

If you're concerned or have information about knife crime, you can report online or via 101. In an emergency always dial 999.