More than 10,000 knives seized and 1,372 suspects arrested in seven days

More than 10,000 knives were seized and 1,372 suspects arrested during a week-long national knife crime crackdown.
More than 10,000 knives were seized and 1,372 suspects arrested during a week-long national knife crime crackdown.
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More than 10,000 knives were seized and 1,372 suspects arrested during a week-long national knife crime crackdown.

All police forces in England and Wales joined Operation Sceptre for seven days of activity including weapons sweeps, knife amnesties and targeted stop-and-search between March 11 and 17.

Officers carried out 3,771 weapons searches, during which 342 knives were found. Another 10,215 were handed in as part of amnesties.

During the week 1,926 stop and searches were carried out, leading to 136 knife-related arrests.

Of the total 1,372 suspects detained, 516 were for knife crimes.

Test purchases were also carried out at 689 shops, with 130 (19%) failing and selling a knife to someone under-18.

All 43 police forces in England and Wales as well as British Transport Police took part in the crackdown.

National Police Chiefs' Council Lead for Knife Crime, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Duncan Ball, said: "Operation Sceptre brought together all 44 police forces in England and Wales in a co-ordinated effort to take knives off our streets and bring those intent on using them for violence to justice.

"The increase in knife crime in recent months and years is very concerning and as a society we have a responsibility to act.

"Police officers work incredibly hard all year round to make our communities safer but this operation sends a clear message that there are consequences for carrying a knife or selling one illegally to a child.

"Police officers will work with other agencies to consider what support those arrested need to prevent them picking up a knife again.

"Police cannot tackle violence alone and this week of intensification involved work with schools, charities, the health service, Trading Standards and communities to eradicate knife crime and keep people safe."

The number of knife crime offences recorded by police is at its highest since 2011, and rose by 6% last year.

Victoria Atkins, Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, said £220 million is being invested in projects to steer young people away from crime.