Officers recover over 90 knives during week of action to tackle knife crime
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Kent Police’s latest enforcement to tackle knife crime has seen officers seize 96 knives and arrest 13 suspects.
Between Monday 15 and Sunday 21 May 2023, the force supported the national campaign Operation Sceptre with a range of enforcement and crime prevention activity, including 83 stop searches and 44 weapon sweeps to find knives that offenders have hidden in and around communities.
Of the 96 knives recovered across the county, 11 were confiscated during weapon sweeps, nine of which were found in Medway.
A further 65 were placed into ‘surrender bins’, 12 were retrieved during stops and searches, and two found following arrests. Another three were recovered during search warrants and the remainder were seized in searches following arrests.
Constables also carried out work with local retailers to ensure that knives are not being sold to under-18s and that knives were stored securely to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands, as a result of shoplifting, for example.
Plain-clothed patrols arrested a man on Friday 19 May after they stopped and searched him in Chatham High Street and seized a knife and drugs. Denzel Edwards, of Dock Road, Chatham, was later charged with possession of a bladed article in a public place, possession of cocaine, and possession of cannabis. He is due to appear before Medway Magistrates’ Court on Friday 30 June.
Throughout the week, officers in north Kent spoke with nearly 500 children and young adults via school assemblies, presentations to cadets, walk and talk events, and pop-up stands. The events were aimed at increasing awareness of the dangers of knives, and dispelling myths that carrying a knife increases safety, supported by statistics demonstrating that those who habitually carry weapons were at greater risk of sustaining knife-related injuries. In fact, nearly 22 per cent of knife-related incidents in financial year 2022/23 ended in injuries, which included six fatalities.
In east Kent, officers worked alongside the British Transport Police to deter people from carrying knives in public, by using police dogs and a knife pole, a mobile body scanner that can help officers detect hidden knives.
Superintendent Peter Steenhuis of Kent Police’s Partnerships Command, said:
‘We have a zero-tolerance policy for knife-crime across Kent and tackling it always remains a force priority. ‘Beyond Operation Sceptre, we are routinely out in force to challenge those who choose to carry weapons in public and place the safety of others at risk, with our dedicated County Lines and Gangs Teams proactively targeting and disrupting criminals. ‘Last week, officers focused efforts on engaging with and educating children and young people to dispel the myths surrounding knives. We also worked with partner agencies to prevent knives being brought into Kent from other areas and with retailers to ensure weapons aren’t falling into the wrong hands.’
If you have concerns about someone you know who may be carrying a knife, or is involved in knife crime, report it online at www.kent.police.uk/report. You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or by using the online form on their website.