A week-long national campaign to tackle knife crime and highlight the risks of carrying a knife will come to an end today.
Originally launched by the Metropolitan Police in 2015, Op Sceptre is a countrywide operation which aims to reduce the number of illegal knives that are in circulation.
Launching on Tuesday 18th September, the amnesty will allow people to bring their unwanted knives – without fear of punishment – to special disposable bins in Wrexham and police stations across the region.
In February 2018 a similar amnesty saw 73 items handed in across the region – a drop on the 428 items in October 2017.
“Knife crime has devastating consequences – not only on families but also the wider community,” said Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Neill Anderson.
“Although knife crime in North Wales is low, we shouldn’t be complacent, which is why we fully support this national campaign, by targeting those who habitually carry and use knives, tackling the supply and access to weapons, engaging with the public to increase awareness of the consequences of carrying knives and provide opportunities to surrender weapons.
“Carrying a knife or a weapon is still a reality for some people, many of whom are unaware of the repercussions. It does not keep you safe and by carrying a knife you are putting yourself and others in much greater danger.
“If caught with a knife you could face a prison sentence of up to five years – and that is just for possession in a public place. If you cause injury there will be other charges to answer and you could go to prison for longer. It’s just not worth the risk.”
He added: “This week of activity is part of our ongoing commitment to disrupt criminal activity and take as many knives off the streets as possible. Our three previous campaigns held in February 2018, July 2017 and October 2017 have seen almost 900 knives being surrendered across the region which has undoubtedly contributed to a safer North Wales.
As part of the amnesty officers across the region have liaised with licensed premises across the region and School Community Police Officers will be delivering lessons to primary and secondary school pupils regarding the dangers of knives.
The campaign also has the full support of colleagues from the Welsh Ambulance Service and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board – who know all too well about the aftermath of knife-related injuries.
Duncan Robertson, regional clinical lead – consultant paramedic for the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust said: “Along with the majority of paramedics, throughout my career I have provided care for patients who have been the victim of a knife attack.
“I have also seen a range of injuries from the seemingly minor, to those where people have died as a result of the attack. I have also seen people who have had to cope with the aftermath of a stabbing and have had to come to terms with the lasting psychological effects as either a relative or the victim.
“Knife injuries are devastating which is why I support the amnesty for the safe disposal of blades in our community.”
If you know of somebody carrying a knife please report it to North Wales Police on 101 or in an emergency always dial 999. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or give information via their anonymous online form (attach link).