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More than a thousand weapons off the streets following knife crime week of action

7 May 2021

More than a thousand weapons are now safely off the streets after being recovered from outdoor public spaces and a number of weapons bins throughout the county.

This activity was a result of Operation Sceptre – the national week of action aimed at tackling knife crime and to encourage people to think twice before carrying a knife.

A number of officers participated in a variety of activities throughout the week, including weapons sweeps, school and retailer engagement and pro-active high visibility patrols in areas most affected by knife crime.

The force’s crime reduction team emptied 10 weapons bins prior to the week of action and found 547 blades and five firearms. The bins were last emptied in November last year following a previous Operation Sceptre week of action.

The bins were emptied again on Tuesday (4 May) and a further 843 blades and two firearms were recovered.

Officers from our community teams took part in a number of weapons sweeps across the county, where a total of 13 knifes were found.

Six retail businesses in Bedford town centre and surrounding areas were visited to further educate and engage with supervisors and managers about the impact of selling knives to underage customers. A number of them have signed up to the Responsible Retailer Scheme to ensure they are selling such items in a responsible way.

Eight schools throughout the county also received talks from the force’s new Education and Diversion team, which saw hundreds of teenagers shown examples of knife crime and the consequences of what could happen if they are caught carrying a knife, even if they think it’s for their own protection.

Detective Chief Inspector Aaron Kiff said: “This was a very successful week and gave us the opportunity to shine a light on all the work we do all year round to tackle knife crime.

“It’s great that we now have even more knives and weapons off our streets which can no longer be used in crime, as well as having the chance to highlight the importance of engaging with our local retailers and making sure they are taking responsibility and questioning the age of someone who is attempting to purchase a knife.

“Our new Education and Diversion team also play a huge part in this as we want to keep reiterating the message that carrying a knife has serious consequences. Not only do you risk a hefty fine and jail sentence just for carrying one, you are also more likely to become a victim of knife crime yourself.

“This is why it is so important for anyone who has information on knife crime in their local community to report it to us, as this helps us to build a better picture of the hotspot areas we need to target to keep people safe.”

“There is no place for knife crime within society and we will continue to do what we can to tackle this.”

To report concerns about knife crime, please report via Bedfordshire Police's online reporting centre www.bedfordshire.police.uk/report/ or call police on 101.

You can also call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. They will never ask for your name or try to trace the number that you're calling from.

In an emergency always dial 999.

If you have a knife and want to get rid of it, talk to an adult who you trust and find out more about where you can get help.

You can find out more about what we are doing to tackle serious youth violence at the Bedfordshire Against Violence and Exploitation website.

For more information or support about getting out of a gang, please visit the Bedfordshire Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit’s website.

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