Last week, forces gathered across the country for a week of intensive crackdown on knife crime. During the week-long campaign known as Operation Scepter, 93 knives were taken from the streets of Greater Manchester and 37 were arrested.
The week’s activities included educational talks in schools and colleges with hundreds of students, stop and search activities, knife sweeps, high visibility patrols, arrest warrants, and visits to known habitual knife carriers, all of which contributed to these results.
We have also worked with a training company to offer a bespoke search course for teachers and college professors. This was commissioned by the Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit to provide teachers with the skills, equipment and training to expertly and lawfully reduce the risk of prohibited items being brought into schools, and to enable them to put students on look for safe and ethical ways.
In addition to schools and colleges, retailers also play an important role in fighting knife crime by making sure knives don’t fall into the wrong hands. Officials visited 42 local retail stores to inform staff about the sale of knives.
Superintendent Chris Downey, GMP’s Head of Knife Crime, said, “This week of intensification underscores our focus on knife crime and the importance of helping young people here in Greater Manchester.
“Our commitment to fighting knife crime is a priority year round as we continue to work to identify those involved, eliminate the root causes of this type of crime, educate our communities, provide preventative advice, and ensure that those who Carrying and Using Guns, Doing So Bringing On Justice.
“The police will always actively monitor the police’s“ hot spots ”and those who commit violence will be targeted. At the same time, we and our partners need to think differently to reduce the need by preventing violence in the first place.
“It has been 18 months since the Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit started and I am pleased that the innovative approaches are starting to take effect. I am confident that this will help change the attitudes of young people in our communities who might otherwise have thought about carrying a knife.
Fortunately, the vast majority of the public do not carry knives or guns, but if you are involved in knife crime I urge you to think about yourself, your family and your community and make positive changes as the effects of knife crime can be truly devastating be.
“I would also like to encourage our communities to do their part in solving this problem. Please share our message about knife crime, speak openly with family members and friends, and report your concerns.
“After all, young people often make an effort to look after their peers and are often reluctant to report or share their concerns (even anonymously) when friends are involved in an argument, violence, or knife-carrying. It is important that we young people reaffirm the importance of reporting information as it is not right to stand by and do nothing. This is not about getting friends into trouble. In the vast majority of cases, our involvement is about keeping people safe and understanding why someone feels the need to carry a weapon.
“If a young person is uncomfortable reporting information, we recommend that they share it with a trusted adult such as a parent, family member, or teacher who can help. If there is any concern that someone will find out they have provided information, reports, and concerns, they can be created anonymously through CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111, www.fearless.org. “