More than 200 knives have been taken into police possession, more than 100 people arrested, and over 80 schools visited in one week alone as part of activity aimed at tackling knife crime.
Last week, police forces across the country took part in Operation Sceptre – a coordinated effort to clampdown on knife crime and violence.
The activity very much built on the extensive work already under way to reduce the devastating impact of such offending.
In our region, the campaign was supported by the family of Connor Brown who sadly lost his life after being fatally stabbed in Sunderland.
The week of action led to 211 knives and other potentially dangerous items being taken into police possession including old kitchen knives, machetes, swords and antiques.
During the week of action, officers worked with partners to carry out dedicated searches, operations and weapons sweeps – with 117 people finding themselves in handcuffs in connection with a range of offences.
Throughout the week, seven knife surrender bins were placed at stations around the Force – providing a way to dispose of such items safely so they never run this risk of falling into the wrong hands.
Officers and partners also visited 84 schools in the region to help educate young people about the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife.
The Force’s Serious Violence and Knife Crime Lead Chief Superintendent Helena Barron said: “This activity is just a small part of the proactive work ongoing throughout the year to tackle knife crime and reduce the impact of this type of offending in our communities.
“Our message to anyone who carries a knife hasn’t changed – you risk destroying more than one life.
“There can never be any excuse to carry a knife or any kind of weapon and the impact of doing so can be devastating for all concerned.”
She added: “Tackling knife crime continues to be a priority for us and we are committed to taking positive action against anyone found in possession of a weapon.
“We continue to work with partners and the Violence Reduction Unit to help prevent offences from taking place, including educating young people about the consequences of carrying knives and helping steer them away from knife crime through divisionary schemes.
“We all have a responsibility to help tackle knife crime, and we would ask our communities to continue to work with us and for families to sit down and have important conversations about the dangers of carrying weapons.
“We encourage anyone who has information about someone who is in possession of a knife or any weapon to let the police know and we will continue to target those who carry weapons to prevent further crimes occurring.
“By coming together, we can ensure our region continues to be a safe place to live, work and visit.”
Following Connor’s death, mum Tanya along with others family members, set up the Connor Brown Trust to support young people and their families and work with them to help steer people away from crime, violence and engaging in criminal activities.
Speaking at the beginning of Operation Sceptre, Tanya said: “The impact Connor’s death has had on us as a family has been truly devastating on a daily basis, it never leaves you, it never gets any easier, and the pain is real, please stop and THINK!
“The Connor Brown Trust works tirelessly with young people to educate them on the impact knife crime has on families, friends, and communities. We have carried out many workshops’ session.”
During Op Sceptre, the VRU Education Team delivered 25 knife crime sessions to 1,421 young people. They also delivered two knife crime training sessions to 42 practitioners.
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “Understandably, knife carrying and serious youth violence is not only a national concern but a local one too. Recent tragedies, here in the North East, are front of everyone’s minds right now. Mams, dads, teachers and whole communities – we all want to make sure history stops repeating itself.
“Fighting and preventing this crime is a top priority and Northumbria Police is putting a great deal of effort and resource into this work and Operation Sceptre plays a key part in this. People want to know knives are being seized, arrests are being made and work to educate young people about the dangers is really being ramped up – all that is happening and will continue to happen.
“We have to do everything possible to understand and crack this problem – no family should ever have to go through this devastation.”
If you have information about someone who is in possession of a prohibited weapon, or want to report any suspicious activity, please get in touch with us using the Tell Us Something page on our website.
Alternatively, you can speak to Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111.
If a crime is happening, or you need urgent assistance, always call 999.