An amnesty in Peterborough and across Cambridgeshire has successfully taken knives off the street and provided education to young people about the risks of carrying weapons.
The weeklong initiative from October 16 resulted in 147 knives being recovered from amnesty bins in police stations.
Officers in Peterborough took mobile bins out into the community in an effort to reach more people and provide information. This work combined with talks in schools and colleges to make young people aware of the dangers of carrying knives.
A number of test purchases also took place, with six retail outlets failing to comply with legislation concerning the selling of knives.
There were 328 possession of weapons offences in Cambridgeshire in 2015/16, a 37.2% increase on the previous year. However, the figure is in line with a rise in offences across the country and remains below both the national and regional averages.
It is illegal to:
– sell a knife of any kind to anyone under 18 years old.
– carry a knife in public without good reason – unless it’s a knife with a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less, eg a Swiss Army knife
– carry, buy or sell any type of banned knife
– use any knife in a threatening way (even a legal knife, such as a Swiss Army knife)
The maximum penalty for an adult carrying a knife is four years in prison and a fine of £5,000. Last week the Sentencing Council for England and Wales called for tougher penalties to be introduced.
Inspector Mark Rogers said: “I’m pleased with the response from the public and with the educational work that was carried out as part of the campaign. Taking more than 100 knives off the streets plays a part in making the county safer.
“We are liaising with management of the six retail outlets who failed the test purchases to ensure that robust measures are in place so that this doesn’t happen again.
“Our messages have been clear throughout this campaign. Knives ruin lives. Those who carry knives not only put people’s lives at risk, but also face a lengthy prison sentence and a hefty fine.”
Anyone who knows someone who carries a knife can report it anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visiting https://crimestoppers-uk.org/.