Countywide knife amnesty announced from Monday

A week-long knife amnesty will be launched by Essex Police from Monday, November 14. 

There are now 16 knife bins across the county which are funded by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC), the Violence and Vulnerability Unit (VVU) and Essex Police.

The amnesty allows anyone who wants to dispose of bladed weapons to do so safely and without fear of prosecution. The priority is for as many knives as possible to be taken off the streets of Essex.

These bins are just one element of a wider approach to tackling knife crime.

Throughout Op Sceptre week, which runs from November 14 to November 21, officers across the county will be carrying out weapons sweeps as well as more overt searches using knife arches in towns and cities across the county. 

Police will also use court orders to prevent young people from becoming involved in a gang lifestyle. 

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Hughes of the Prepare, Prevent and Protect Team, which is part of the Serious Violence Unit, said: “At its worst, knife crime destroys lives; it affects families who have lost loved ones forever and one family losing a loved one is clearly one too many.

“We put significant effort into tackling knife crime including ‘hotspot’ policing, intelligence gathering, using knife arches, and using additional powers such as dispersal orders and Section 60 powers, which are an extension of the stop-and-search activity which takes place every day.

Knife enabled crime fell by nearly 8 per cent over the latest 12-month period.

DCI Hughes added: “We know knife crime and violence is not an issue the police can tackle alone, and we work shoulder to shoulder with partners to address it.

“In Essex, we are incredibly lucky to have so many partners, such as the Essex Violence and Vulnerability Unit, which believes the same as we do – that the response to knife crime requires a multi-agency approach by working with education, health, local authorities, and probation services.

“A key focus is to help divert people who are involved in, or at risk of being involved in, knife and violent crime away from this lifestyle and into areas as sports, education, volunteering, rehabilitation.

“This is a battle that we as a community must fight together. That includes educating our children about the reality of being involved in gangs and the reality that carrying a knife will not protect them. In fact, it is more likely that doing so will lead to them being hurt or them hurting someone else.”

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: mickferris@yellowad.co.uk