Police in bank holiday knife crime operation

Police carried out high visibility patrols, checked for weapons and worked with licensed premises over the bank holiday weekend in nine Essex towns as part of an ongoing operation to tackle knife crime.

Operation Sceptre began in April and was extended thanks to Home Office funding, which was secured to tackle serious violence in public spaces, with a focus on reducing knife crime.

Officers from Essex Police’s community and local policing teams and the operational support group were out in force on Friday August 23 through to Monday August 26. They were supported by other agencies including local councils and licensed premises.

On Friday they were in Brentwood High Street and Colchester town centre. On Saturday they were at Rayleigh and Benfleet train stations, Canvey, and Southend town centre. On Sunday they were in Basildon town centre, Billericay and Laindon. On Monday they were in Southend town centre and on the seafront.

As well as patrols, 12 knife arches were used to check for weapons. In Brentwood, a number of licensed premises used these as a condition of entry.

Members of the public were not obliged to go through the knife arches.
In Brentwood, there were no reported incidents of violent crime in the High Street during the time of the operation.

District commander Chief Inspector Lewis Basford said: “We are committed to protecting our communities from violent crime and operations such as this form part of our continuing work with our partners and licensed premises to ensure people can enjoy a safe night out in our town centres.”

Across the three days in Castle Point, Southend and Basildon districts, officers carried out 74 stop and searches and arrested nine people for a variety of offences including possessing a knuckle duster, possessing drugs, vehicle theft, and public order offences.

Four vehicles and offensive weapons including a knife and a hammer were also seized.

Sgt Dan McHugh, of the Basildon local policing team, said: “I am delighted that my team and I were able to meet so many members of the public.

“The overwhelming response was that they were happy to see us out patrolling and using the knife arches, and many thanked the officers for the hard work they do every day.

“We made a number of arrests for violent offences and took a number of weapons and drugs off the streets.

“We want to send a strong message to those individuals who wish to carry weapons within our communities that we are committed to protecting the public and will take robust action against those who carry weapons or sell drugs on our streets.”

Mick Ferris

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