Safeguarding minister Sarah Newton supports police action designed to tackle knife crime

The Home Office has hosted an event for police forces across the country to try to break the cycle of knife crime. At the briefing, Sarah Newton (Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism) encouraged more forces to join the Operation Sceptre week of co-ordinated police action on knife crime that takes place in July.

There are currently 29 police forces expected to take part in Operation Sceptre, which is the largest number since the initiative launched two years ago.

Sarah Newton said: “Knife crime has devastating effects on victims, families and communities. I’m hugely encouraged that a record 29 police forces have signed up to be part of next month’s Operation Sceptre and I hope more join in the next couple of weeks. We must break this cycle of violence and address the perception of young people who say they need to carry a knife to protect themselves. Let me be clear that knives have no place on our streets. The Government is committed to working with the police to tackle this issue.”

Operation Sceptre is an ongoing series of weeks of intensified action on knife crime, including targeted Stop and Search, weapon sweeps, test purchases of knives from retailers and the use of surrender bins. During a previous week of action in October last year, no less than 21 police forces across the country took part. More than 1,200 weapons were seized and over 300 arrests made. More than 720 knives were placed in amnesty bins.

The latest briefing event at the Home Office was held in conjunction with the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the Metropolitan Police Service. In a speech to attendees, Newton set out the Government’s approach towards tackling knife crime. This approach includes working closely with police and law enforcement, including by supporting Operation Sceptre, and tightening the legislative framework (for example through the introduction of mandatory minimum custodial sentences for repeat convictions and placing a ban on zombie knives).

The Government is also working with retailers to prevent the sale of knives to under-18s and promoting and providing early intervention by working with voluntary sector organisations.

Newton stressed that the Government is keen to support and encourage initiatives that work directly with young people, at the same time highlighting that a mix of agencies working together is absolutely key when it comes to tackling the issues around knife crime.

The next Operation Sceptre week of action will begin on Monday 17 July.

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014.

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