Norfolk Police to tackle knife crime in national week of action by trialling new technology
Officers across Norfolk are taking part in a week of action to tackle knife crime by using a new technology to detect knives and weapons.
A 360 weapons search pole will also be used at venues across the city’s night time economy during the week.
It is the first time Norfolk Police has trialled this type of technology to help tackle knife crime and its impact will be evaluated for potential future use.
The pole can detect knives or weapons and will help identify those who carry knives, as well as provide reassurance to those enjoying a night out
From today Norfolk Police will be one of 44 forces nationally involved in Operation Sceptre, a week of action taking place to highlight the risks that carrying a blade can bring, as well as targeting offenders who use and carry knives.
Over 300 offences involving knives or bladed weapons were reported to Norfolk Police in 2020, compared with 687 offences in 2019.
This includes offences such as possession, assault, robbery, criminal damage and affray in which a bladed weapon was used or threatened to be used. Burglaries in which a sharp instrument was used to gain access would also fall into the category.
During the week of action members of the public will be able to hand over knives without fear of prosecution.
This includes kitchen knives, pen knives, flick knives, machetes and other bladed items being held.
Knives can be surrendered at any police station, but people are encouraged to take them to their nearest Public Enquiry Office (PEO).
Officers from local policing areas, alongside drugs teams and response officers, will also conduct visible patrols to target and disrupt offenders who carry and use knives; and work with Norfolk County Council Trading Standards to carry out checks at local retailers to ensure they are not selling knives to anyone under the age of 18.
Inspector Ian Cox from Norfolk Police said: “This week highlights our focus on knife crime in the county.
Whilst we have seen a reduction in knife crime, it’s important we acknowledge the national lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic will have had an impact.
"Norfolk does not have a big knife crime problem, but we have had incidents involving knives and we have seen the impact it can have on victims, their families and the wider community.
“It is important that we prevent knife crime from happening in the first place. The majority of the public do not carry knives, but I would urge anyone who does carry a knife or a weapon to make a positive change and help stop knife crime.
“If you are caught carrying a knife you will be arrested and prosecuted, regardless of whether you say it was for your own protection or you were carrying it for someone else. Possession of a knife alone can carry a prison sentence of up to four years and should it be used in violent crime you will spend a considerable amount of time in prison.
“By carrying a knife you also put yourself in much greater danger, and more likely to become involved in a violent situation and get injured yourself.
“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.”
Sophie Leney, Head of Norfolk County Council Trading Standards said: “We will be working with the police to tackle illegal sales of knives to young people at source.
"Retailers must have rigorous systems in place to ensure they do not supply knives to youngsters under the age of 18.
“If people have information about underage sales, you can report your concerns to Trading Standards via the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133 or via www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/if-you-need-more-help-about-a-consumer-issue/. Traders can access comprehensive information on age restricted sales on Business Companion”
If you suspect someone is carrying a knife please call Norfolk Police on 101 or you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
Crimestoppers is an independent charity and will not take any personal details and the call cannot be traced.