Op Sceptre: School visits, test purchases and knives handed in during amnesty week

May’s Operation Sceptre in Cumbria saw more than a dozen schools visited, dozens of stop and searches carried out five arrests for knife-related offences, as well as more than 70 blades handed in as part of the week-long amnesty.

Operation Sceptre, is a national campaign which takes place twice a year, supporting the work the police carry out all year round to ensure residents are safe from knife crime in their community.

As part of May’s operation, officers went into schools to speak directly with pupils about the dangers of carrying a knife and the potential consequences if caught in possession.

Officers working proactively also carried out 35 stop and searches and five arrests were made – three for possession of a knife/blade in a public place, one for possession of an offensive weapon in a private place and one for possession of an offensive weapon in a public place.

Officers also carried out test purchasing operations in the north, south and west of the county. A total of 30 test purchasing visits were made to retailers to check they would not sell knives or other blades to children.

The vast majority passed, however, five failed and were subsequently visited by officers, spoken to and advised about their responsibilities.

As part of Operation Sceptre, a knife amnesty was held where people had the opportunity to safely dispose of knives which could pose a risk to themselves and others.

More than 70 knives and other bladed articles were handed in across the county. The items given up included meat cleavers, flick knives and a German First World War bayonet.

Chief Inspector Steve Hunter of Cumbria Police said: “I’d like to thank all those people who took the proactive step of visiting their local police station to dispose of a knife or other blade in order to make themselves, their family and their community safer.

“However, whilst the number and types of knives handed in are what usually makes the headlines, for ourselves as police officers what we are most heartened by is the openness of our local schools in engaging with Operation Sceptre and the positive reaction from the pupils to the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife.

“Speaking to young people at an early age and making them aware of what can result from carrying a knife gives us the best chance of positively impacting behaviour.

“Our message to people is clear – there is no excuse to be carrying a knife on the streets of Cumbria, which is one of the safest counties to live, work and visit. Sceptre is helping us to keep it that way and we will continue to engage with the operation going forward.”

Cumbria’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “Weapons surrender schemes such as Operation Sceptre are key to getting unused and potentially dangerous weapons off our streets, creating safer communities.


“The sooner we get these weapons off the streets, we reduce the risk of them being used to commit a crime. There is never any need to have an unused knife or weapon lying around the house.


“The surrender of 70 weapons being handed over to the Police really highlights this.


“I want to thank everyone that handed over these weapons– you have helped make Cumbria a safer place to live.”

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