Anti-knife crime campaign gets underway

A week-long police operation tackling knife crime in South Yorkshire started today.

Operation Sceptre, a widespread effort across England and Wales by police forces, has set up knife crime awareness days, extra patrols, open land searches, and anonymous knife surrender bins, all in an attempt to target the rising knife related crime in the UK.

Det Supt Una Jennings, South Yorkshire Police’s lead officer for armed criminality, said: “It’s about continuing to have and encourage the conversation in our community, in our schools, in our universities, around the consequences of carrying a knife. The consequences for them and their families can be devastating.”

South Yorkshire Police are concentrating their efforts in four separate areas, Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham, and Sheffield.

This comes as reports of knife crime outside of London are steeply rising in comparison to the capital, with almost 1,000 knife crimes being reported by South Yorkshire Police between June 2017-June 2018.

Yorkshire and the Humber has the highest knife crime outside of London with 79 offences per 100,000 population, according to a report from the Home Office. This is a 77% increase since 2010.

Det Supt Jennings said: “We’ve seen a rise in violent crime nationally, right across the country, South Yorkshire is not alone in this, and infact, contrary to some reports, we’ve seen a net reduction in the number of knife-enabled crimes across the last 12 months in particular. That said, one knife crime is one too many.”

Charities are also doing their bit to combat the knife crime situation in the area, with Word4Weapons setting up a knife surrender bin at Sheffield’s Rock Christian Centre, and In2Change’s project ‘4 Change’ set up to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in young people – including talks from ex-offenders and serving prisoners who were guilty of knife crime.

Det Supt Jennings added: “If you choose to carry a knife in South Yorkshire you should expect to be stopped. You will be searched, you will be arrested, and you could face up to four years in prison for a simple possession offence.”

Knives, an assortment of drugs and a large amount of cash were recovered from across Sheffield today on the first day of the operation.