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Knife amnesty sees almost 300 bladed weapons handed in

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Almost 300 knives have been handed in by the public as part of a week-long amnesty earlier this month.

It was part of Sceptre, a national campaign aimed at tackling knife crime, which ran from Monday 13 to Sunday 19 May.

Five dedicated amnesty bins were located at police stations in Cheltenham, Cirencester, Coleford, Gloucester and Stroud, and a total of 281 bladed items were handed in.

Officers also visited the community to talk to young people and residents about the dangers of carrying knives. Knife arches were set up at schools and special virtual reality headsets were used to show pupils the consequences of using bladed items as weapons.

Cadets were deployed to sweep six parks across the county to look for any weapons.

Inspector Ash Shingler said: “I’d like to thank the public for their support during this campaign.

“Knife crime continues to be a concern for many people across our communities. Every one that we take off the street is one that will no longer cause any potential harm.

“However, our work is not over and there is much more that we will be doing over the coming weeks and months to tackle this issue.

“We are having positive conversations with members of our communities about their concerns and our work with schools and youth organisations is continuing to engage with children about the terrible consequences of knife crime.

“We will continue to work hard to prevent violent crimes in Gloucestershire.”

Also during the week, the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SWROCU) worked with Border Force to crack down on the importation of illegal weapons.

Officers carried out four visits across Gloucestershire to people who bought weapons online, which included flick knives, karambits, butterfly knives and swords.

Cease and desist notices that demand the recipient immediately stops their illegal activity were issued and a 32-year-old man from Stroud was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and possession of a controlled drug. He has been released on bail while enquiries continue.

Many of the people visited were unaware the weapons they had bought were illegal and so advice and education was provided by the officers.

SWROCU Detective Inspector Lucy Edgeworth, who sits on the National Knife Crime Working Group, said: “SWROCU is committed to tackling the importation of illegal knives into the South West by working closely with Gloucestershire Constabulary and partners to offer advice and assistance and to disrupt this area of criminality.

“The devastation caused by knife crime continues to fracture our communities and destroy lives. I urge parents to have conversations with their children, to search rooms and bags and to know what knives are in your kitchen as they are the most common weapon used to cause serious injury in the UK.”

The next Sceptre week runs from 11 to 17 November.

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