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.
Tackling an issue as complex as knife crime requires teamwork and a joined-up approach.
Sussex Police works closely with all of the agencies in the Sussex Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP) and alongside other partners across the county to support our aim of keeping Sussex safe from knife crime and serious violence.
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.
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.
It’s understandably worrying if you find out that your child is carrying a knife, or that they are involved with people who do. You’re likely to be feeling a huge range of emotions, which could include sadness, worry, anger, fear and frustration. You might be at a loss of what to do, or even feel powerless to influence them. However, what you can do is talk to your child and open up the conversation with them.
Everyone has a role to play in preventing knife crime - it can’t be tackled by police alone. We need to work together with partners, local communities, and you.
We need your help to encourage your children to make the right choice and understand the risks they face when they pick up a knife – and part of that is by talking about it.
We advise you to try to talk to them openly about the dangers, as well as the life-changing consequences that come from carrying a knife.
Here are some tips to help start the conversation.
Establish the most appropriate time to talk and somewhere you both feel comfortable.
Your child may be reluctant to talk to you – reassure them that they can be honest with you, that you’ll listen, and support them without judgement.
Encourage them to share their worries and fears. Knife possession in young people is predominately through fear and believing that a knife will protect them.
It’s important that they understand that their chances of becoming a victim of knife crime increases just by carrying one.
Share your own fears as this can help your child to open up to you.
Highlight that most young people don’t carry a knife – and it does not provide protection. You are more likely to be hurt by your own knife.
Explain that they have a choice as to whether they carry a knife.
Talk about the life-changing consequences that come from carrying a knife – being arrested, prison, affect their future goals and opportunities, they may be unable to travel to certain places, or someone could lose their life.
Further guidance and resources
If your child wants to report but is uncomfortable to report to the police – they can report their concerns anonymously to Fearless.org.
Think your child may be involved in knife crime or being exploited but unsure of what signs to look out for? Find how to spot the signs here.
Sussex is a safe place to live, and we take any reports of knife crime seriously in Sussex so it continues to be.