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    Henry James

    SKELMERSDALE Police have announced they are supporting a national week-long knife surrender in the same week that Home Office figures reveal a 49% increase in knife crime in Lancashire in the last five years.

    The surrender initiative, Operation Sceptre, is running from Monday, March 11 to Friday, March 15.

    A statement on the Skelmersdale Police’s social media account reads: “We’re determined to do everything we can to tackle knife crime in Lancashire and as part of these efforts we’re supporting Operation Sceptre.

    “Your nearest secure knife bins are permanently outside Digmoor and Tanhouse community centres and we urge anyone with an unwanted knife to tape it up securely, wrap it in newspaper and get rid of it safely in the bins -#knivescostlives and even one knife surrendered which could fall into the wrong hands will make Lancashire safer.

    “As part of this week and in the longer term we’ll also be pro-actively targeting wanted offenders, working with schools and partners to educate young people and using section 60 stop and search powers in known ‘hot spots’ to keep people safe, especially the young and vulnerable.

    “If you want to know more about knife crime, the law and how to avoid becoming a victim, please have a look at our website http://socsi.in/qhLG7 and if you have any information about people using knives or where they are being kept please call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111.”

    The Home Office figures show that in the year to September 2018 there were 923 incidents involving knives in Lancashire. During the same period in 2013, Lancashire Police recorded 618 knife crimes.

    ‘Tragic impact’

    In recent months the Champion has reported on a number of knife-related incidents in the town.

    Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw said: “Knives are deadly weapons and time and again we see the tragic impact on people’s lives as a consequence of them being used.

    “Campaigns such as Operation Sceptre that remove knives from our streets, play an important role in reducing reoffending.

    “Lancashire Constabulary do an extremely important job in protecting our communities and carrying out robust enforcement, but it is ultimately through early intervention and prevention work that we can most effectively tackle knife crime and serious violence.”

    West Lancs MP Rosie Cooper commented: “I am horrified to see the huge increase in knife crime in this constituency and throughout the country.

    “I absolutely reject the idea that the rise in knife and violent crime, and the reduction in police officers as well as cuts in police funding aren’t connected, of course they are!

    “The Government urgently needs to fund more police officers on our streets, increase support to schools and youth services as well as educating young people about the risk of carrying a knife.”

    The Champion asked Lancashire Police for a comment but they declined the request.

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