Surrender operation offers public a chance to bin knives
LANCASHIRE Police is participating in a week of action aimed at reducing knife crime by encouraging people to surrender their knives at local police stations, including Skelmersdale.
Operation Sceptre, running from February 12 to 18, is a national campaign targeting knife crime and those who carry knives.
While knife crime in Lancashire is no worse than many other parts of the country, the police are keen to stress that any incident involving a knife could have tragic consequences and destroy lives.
Chief Inspector Mark Baines, of Lancashire Police, said: “Too many families have been affected by knife crime, even one person being stabbed is one too many. The consequences of carrying and using a knife can be devastating and potentially life-threatening.
“I would appeal directly to people that if you know someone who is carrying a knife, don't keep silent. Report it.
“The law is simple - it is illegal to carry a knife, even if it belongs to someone else. Anyone found carrying a knife and intending to use it as a weapon - even in self-defence - can be arrested, go to court and receive a police record or even a prison sentence of up to four years and an unlimited fine.
“Knife bins are being used at nine police stations in the county - Blackpool, Burnley, Preston, Skelmersdale, Morecambe, Fleetwood, Greenbank Blackburn, Chorley and Nelson - during the surrender where people can hand in any knives.
“These need to be safely wrapped in tape and newspaper before putting in the bins.
“If anyone is in possession of a knife and is unsure what to do about it, I would urge them to take this opportunity to dispose of it anonymously and safely.”
Officers will also continue to carry out test purchase operations to ensure that retailers are not selling knives to people under the age of 18.
Chief Inspector Baines continued: “Lancashire Police has a zero tolerance policy toward possession of knives in public and we take reports of knife crime very seriously. We will act on all intelligence received in a bid to prevent people losing loved ones and to detain those who intend to commit acts of violence using knives.
“If you have information about the possession of knives or offensive weapons or criminal activity relating to this type of crime, make a report online via the Lancashire Police website.
“You can also report information anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner added: “I fully support Lancashire Police’s involvement in this campaign to remove knives from our streets.
“Knives are deadly weapons and you will be arrested and prosecuted if you are caught carrying one. If you own a dangerous knife I’d urge you to protect both yourself and those around you by handing it in safely and anonymously.
“Campaigns such as this play an important role in reducing crime and re-offending, a key priority in my Police and Crime Plan. I’m committed to making our neighbourhoods safer and anything that helps to achieve this can only be a good thing.”