Operation Sceptre, the national police initiative to tackle knife crime which took place last week (15 May to 21 May 2023) has seen 9,737 knives removed from our streets and 1,693 people arrested, of which 829 were related to knife crime offences, National Police Chiefs’ Council reported.
Operation Sceptre brought together all 43 police forces across England and Wales in a week of intensified action with forces coordinating activity which targets knife crime from the root cause right through to enforcement.
A variety of other tactics were used by forces; including weapons sweeps, engagement with schools and local communities, knife arches in public places and events and knife surrender bins to remove knives off the streets.
Commander Stephen Clayman, National Police Chiefs’ Council knife crime lead, said: “There is a lot of fantastic work taking place across police forces to tackle knife crime and Op Sceptre is a great opportunity to both highlight and showcase the difference this work is making.
“Knife crime remains a complex issue and is not a problem which policing can tackle alone and it’s been really positive to see all the different examples where we are working in collaboration with partner organisations to address some of the root causes and support young people in making informed choices.”
The Met made 468 arrest and took 170 knives off the streets
During Operation Sceptre, the Met intensified tactics and activity to target knife crime and wider violence, making 468 arrests, with 170 knives taken off the streets in just one week.
Officers from across the Met carried out a range of operational activity for Operation Sceptre, including increased proactive patrols in violence hotspots; executing warrants at addresses; and sweeps in areas known for hiding knives and weapons.
In one instance, local officers were joined by British Transport Police (BTP) colleagues, a father who lost his son to knife crime, and a local community activist, on a proactive operation tackling knife crime on the transport network in Croydon, before conducting a weapons sweep in the area.
Early intervention and a holistic partnership is key
Other activity conducted with BTP included joint operations where knife arches were deployed at transport hubs to deter people from carrying weapons and drugs on train and tube services.
Met’s Police Cadets also assisted officers on Op Sceptre activity through test purchase operations by visiting businesses to educate them and ensure they were not – and do not in the future – sell knives irresponsibly.
A statement from the Metropolitan Police Service said: “We know that early intervention and a holistic partnership approach to tackling knife crime is key to driving down violence.
“To complement the enforcement activity, Op Sceptre intensification week saw officers focus on education, diversion and prevention activity.
“Officers engaged with young people and community members through school visits and community meetings.
“One piece of activity saw officers from the East Area engage with young people and the wider community at Seven Kings Skate Park where they highlighted the dangers of knife crime.”
“We have prevented further injuries – and perhaps even fatal stabbings – from occurring”
In total the operation, which ran from Monday, 15 May to Sunday, 21 May, resulted in: 170 knives recovered; 468 arrests; 22 warrants; 177 community meetings and educational events, engaging with 1,627 individuals; 212 school presentations and engagements, involving 6,712 young people; 194 retailer visits; and 1,195 weapon sweeps.
Chief Inspector Rob Ranstead, who led Op Sceptre for the Met, said: “Knife crime completely destroys families and brings misery to our communities.
“The results from this operation highlight the Met’s commitment to tackling violent crime and I’m convinced that with 170 knives taken off London’s streets, we have prevented further injuries – and perhaps even fatal stabbings – from occurring.
“Policing alone can’t solve knife crime or violence and I am grateful to our partners and community members that worked closely alongside us during this week of enhanced activity, as they do on any given day, to make London safer for everyone. We must all work together – the responsibility lies with us all to bear down on knife crime and violence.”