Operation Sceptre is a week of action (February 12-18) aimed at reducing the impact of knife crime on communities.
Cheshire is ranked nine out of 42 (excluding the city of London and British Transport Police) for knife crime across the country but there is evidence the problem is concentrated in certain areas of the county so officers will be targeting Ellesmere Port, Runcorn, Macclesfield and Widnes.
Using intelligence, action will be taken against anyone found in possession of a knife without a valid reason.
During the initiative, police officers want to educate people about the laws surrounding buying and carrying knives and will be working with partners such as Trading Standards and Crimestoppers to combat the issue.
There will also be a number of surrender bins available for people to hand in knives between February 12-19 at four police stations – Ellesmere Port, Macclesfield, Widnes and Runcorn – and two recycling centres – on Congleton Road, Gawsworth, and on Garth Road, Ellesmere Port.
Cheshire police and crime commissioner David Keane said: “Carrying a knife is a crime which brings that added risk that a minor issue can escalate into something much more serious and potentially life changing.
“The damage caused by knives, not just to the victim and their families, but also to the wider community, can be devastating. No one deserves to live in fear of knife crime in their area and we will be using intelligence to target certain areas.
“Consequently, we are keen to reach out to members of the public who may have information about knife carriers, and I would encourage anyone with information to have the confidence to come forward and report it.”
Family and friends also have an important role to play. If they know someone who is determined to carry a knife then reporting it could be enough to save a life.
Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Sacha Hatchett said: “The law is quite simple, it is illegal to have a knife in your possession in a public place without a reason and if you break that law you could face a prison sentence.
“We will be supporting our colleagues nationally as part of Operation Sceptre and officers will be using their stop and search powers where appropriate.
“We will have increased visibility in the areas with the highest number of recorded incidents. Officers will also be working to stop the sale of knives to under 18s as part of this initiative. This is a warning that we take all crimes involving knives – or any weapon – in Cheshire extremely seriously.”
Retailers are being asked to put in robust controls on the sale of blades, such as kitchen knives, as part of the operation.
ACC Hatchett added: “Whilst Cheshire has not experienced any recent knife-related murders, people have been seriously injured. We need to act now and work with residents, partner agencies, the business community and schools to reduce the number of knives on streets. We also need to work with young people themselves to spread the message that carrying a knife can ruin their life rather than save it.”
Cheshire Constabulary is working hard to eradicate this crime and in partnership with Crimestoppers, an independent charity that encourages anyone with information to contact them anonymously on 0800 555 111. Alternatively, call Cheshire Police on 101.