Staffordshire Police are calling on parents, schools and the wider community to come together in support of a national operation to tackle the issue of knife crime.
This week, under Operation Sceptre, the force will be rolling out a wide variety of enforcement and educational activities, with the support of partners, to help reduce the impact of knife crime in the communities of Staffordshire.
Superintendent Ricky Fields, strategic lead for knife crime at Staffordshire Police, said: “Staffordshire Police continues to see increases in recorded crime involving the possession or use of knives alongside increases in overall violent crime. Knife crime is unfortunately a visible part of communities in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and not an issue we can tackle on our own.
“We are doing lots to tackle knife crime and we are actively pursuing those who intend to cause harm within Staffordshire’s communities. We will do all we can to bring offenders to justice, however enforcement is just one element of the response needed. Knife crime cannot and must not be treated in isolation. The threat of knife crime increases when considered with street gangs or drugs activity. Our approach is not to criminalise young people but to safeguard them and protect them. With partners, parents and schools we need to understand why young people choose to carry knives, because we have seen a marked increase in recent years in Staffordshire.”
Staffordshire Police’s neighbourhood policing teams will be visiting schools and colleges to educate young people on the dangers and consequences of carrying knives, setting up proactive knife operations in busy town centres to detect and deter habitual knife carriers, and organising knife sweeps in knife crime hotspots to discover any knives concealed in public areas. The force will also be continuing in its efforts to deter offenders through the use of stop and search.
To complement this activity, a targeted social media campaign aimed at those most likely to commit offences with a knife will be rolled out. This hard-hitting campaign will shine a light on the stark realities of knife crime and youth violence.
Knife crime has increased in Staffordshire by 5% (32 crimes) over the past rolling 12 months (1 March 2018 – 28 February 2019) with personal robbery where a knife is used having increased by 20%. The top three neighbourhood policing teams in Staffordshire for knife crime are Stoke-on-Trent North, Stoke-on-Trent South and Tamworth.