Greater Manchester Police supports Operation Sceptre - the national campaign to help tackle knife crime

A knife amnesty has been launched in Wigan

By Sian Jones
Monday, 15th November 2021, 10:45 am
Updated Monday, 15th November 2021, 10:46 am

Operation Sceptre runs from November 15 until November 21 to tackle knife crime across Greater Manchester and people will be able to hand in blades, no questions asked.

The scheme is a national initiative which takes place twice a year, and aims to reduce knife crime by targeting those carrying weapons, disrupting the supply of blades, raising awareness of the dangers of knife crime, and providing young people with alternatives to crime.

During the week-long operation, officers will undertake a range of activities including targeted operations, weapon sweeps, visits to habitual knife carriers, and education sessions in schools to explain the dangers and consequences that come from carrying a knife.

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The locations of the amnesty bins across Greater Manchester

GMP has made tackling knife crime a priority throughout the year and continue to work to identify those involved, address the root causes, educate our communities, provide preventative advice and ensure those carrying and using weapons are brought to justice, and this week helps highlight the on-going work taking place week in, week out.

Operation Sceptre links closely with GMP’s longer-term initiatives; Operation Sycamore and Operation Concept, which focus on reducing and preventing violent crime involving knives and bladed weapons

Since 2019, over 4,000 weapons have been seized as part of Operation Sycamore and over 3,500 knives have been deposited as part of the GMP Forever Amnesty.

In the same period, almost 800 knives have also been intercepted in the postal system as part of Operation Concept.

As part of the scheme, people are encouraged to use the GMP Forever Amnesty bins to safely and anonymously dispose of knives at police stations across Greater Manchester without fear of prosecution.

The borough's amnesty bin will be located at Wigan Police Station.

Supt Chris Downey, GMP's knife crime lead, said: “Our officers will always proactively police 'hot spots' and those who commit violence will be targeted, but at the same time, it’s vital that we continue to work closely with our partners in the Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) and our communities, to reduce knife crime by preventing violence in the first place.

“Young people often carry a knife due to the common misconception that carrying a weapon will help keep them safe – whether this is due to feeling vulnerable, threatened, feeling at risk they will become a victim of crime, or because they believe the majority of their peers are carrying one. Thankfully, it isn’t the case that most young people carry a knife, however it’s important to highlight that young people who do carry a knife are at increased risk of falling victim to this type of crime, and even having the weapon turned on them.

"I would like to encourage our communities to play their part in helping us tackle this issue. Parents, guardians and extended family members, please share our message and talk to young family members about knife crime. You can all play a vital role in preventing them from becoming involved in knife crime, and we advise you to try to talk to them openly about the dangers, as well as the life-changing consequences that come from carrying a knife.

“Be aware that a young person may be reluctant to talk to you about knife crime, so reassure them that they can be honest with you, as well as letting them know that you’ll listen to what they have to say and support them without judgement. Advise for parents on understanding what violence is, how to speak to your children about violence and related behaviours, and to sign post to further help and support can be found here.

"It is also important to acknowledge that young people will often go to extreme lengths to protect and look out for their peers, and are often reluctant to report or share their concerns (even anonymously) if friends are involved in a dispute, violence or carrying a knife. It's vital that we reiterate to young people the importance of reporting information, as it's not right to stand by and do nothing.

"If a young person doesn't feel comfortable reporting information, we advise they tell a trusted adult, such as a parent, family member, or teacher who can help. If they are worried that someone will find out they've given information, reports and concerns can be made anonymously through CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111 or on fearless.org.”

Young people can also get involved in the I am greater campaign, which unites young people against violence by choosing to say ‘violence isn’t me … I am greater’. Find out more at iamgreater.co.uk, where you can also find help and support if you have been involved in, or are experiencing violence.

If you wish to report an incident to GMP, please call the Police on 101 or contact them via LiveChat. Always dial 999 in an emergency.

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