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'Give up a knife and save a life', plead Norfolk Police as amnesty week begins

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Stock image (7654418)
Stock image (7654418)

Police in West Norfolk are taking part in a national knife amnesty campaign this week as new figures reveal the rising scale of the problem in the county.

Lynn’s police station is one of four main locations where people are being encouraged to surrender weapons as part of a nationwide campaign known as Operation Sceptre, which begins today.

And senior officers are promoting the message that by surrendering a knife over the next few days, you could save a life.

Inspector Darren Brooks, of Norfolk Police, said: “There may be people who have knives and don’t how to dispose of them.

“It’s important that these are handed into police to stop them getting into the wrong hands and to reduce the amount of knives being carried on the streets.

“Every knife surrendered is one less chance of a life being ended or ruined by knife crime.”

Figures released by Norfolk Police as part of the campaign show there were 643 offences reported to them which involved a knife or bladed article in 2018, an increase of 93 on the previous year.

Of those, the force says there were 183 cases in which a knife was used or violence threatened in 2018, up 25 on the 2017 total.

But data from the Office for National Statistics has suggested the number of knife offences in the county has more than double over the past four years.

However, the rate of 24 knife offences per 100,000 people recorded for Norfolk, is well below the national average of 69 per 100,000.

During the campaign, which began yesterday, people will be able to surrender weapons without fear of prosecution.

Although the public enquiry office at Lynn’s town centre police station is one of the main locations, weapons can be handed in at any police station.

The campaign also includes high-visibility patrols as well as checks on shops to ensure they are not selling blades to under-18s as well as posters in prominent locations, such as bus stations, town centres, hospitals and police facilities.

And a hard-hitting video which has been shown to school children across the county on the risks of carrying a weapon, will be made publicly available on social media for the first time.

Inspector Brooks said: “Norfolk does not have a big knife crime problem but we have seen the impact knife crime can have on victims, their families and the wider community.

“By carrying a knife you are putting yourself in much greater danger, and more likely to become involved in a violent situation and get injured yourself.”

A total of 44 police forces nationally are taking part in the campaign.

Anyone who suspects that someone may be carrying a knife is asked to contact Norfolk Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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