Operation targeting knife crime rolls out across Merseyside
People can hand in bladed weapons as part of a knife surrender being carried out this week (13-19 November).
Drop-off points will be available at 10 Merseyside police stations, giving members of the public the chance to dispose of a knife or weapon safely.
This knife surrender coincides with the national knife crime campaign, Operation Sceptre, and the force’s ongoing work to tackle knife crime and make communities safer.
Changes to the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 now makes it illegal to possess offensive weapons in a private place, including your home.
A number of offensive weapons have been included in the legislation such as flick knives, knuckle dusters, zombie knives, stealth knives, swordsticks, swords with a curved blade of 50 centimetres or more in length and even blowpipes or blow guns.
This week will also see enhanced activity including weapons sweeps, open land searches, stop searches and community outreach with young people and partners.
The force’s recent investment of 140 handheld metal detecting wands will be used to support stop and search powers and take weapons off the streets of Merseyside. It forms part of the force’s approach to prevention, which focuses on reducing crime and harm across Merseyside.
Uniformed officers will be deployed across Merseyside to deter offenders and provide reassurance to the local community. Officers will be proactively monitoring individuals with live Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVROs) and undertaking stop searches when they are in a public place. The force, working with the CPS, has secured 50 SVROs against high-risk knife crime offenders.
Officers will also be deployed to ‘hotspot’ areas to target known offenders and protect those most vulnerable to violence and exploitation. The tactic involves operating intensive, high-visibility foot patrols for short periods of time within specific areas where there is a risk of serious violence.
In the last 12 months, Merseyside has seen a 15% reduction in knife crime and a 13% reduction in serious violence offences (November 2022 – October 2023). In hotspot areas, serious violence has reduced by 27% this financial year to date (April – October 2023).
Inspector Laura Leach, Deputy Lead for Serious Violence and Knife Crime said: “Reducing knife crime in Merseyside is a priority for the force all year round. We understand the devastating impact it can have on individuals, families, and wider communities.
“Every knife surrendered is one less potentially dangerous weapon on the streets of Merseyside. We are calling on anyone with any of these weapons in their possession to turn them in. This surrender will help us keep unwanted knives out of circulation and out of the hands of criminals who could use them for serious violence and knife-enabled crimes.”
“Many weapons are held in innocence or ignorance of their illegality. Legislation introduced in 2019 makes it illegal to possess dangerous weapons in your home, including knuckledusters, zombie knives and death star knives.”
“Both serious violence and knife crime are falling in Merseyside, but we know there is still work to do. This surrender, alongside increased proactive policing, will help us tackle these issues head on, and work with partners to understand the root causes of knife crime, carrying a weapon and serious violence.”
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “Sadly, we know all too well the devastating consequences carrying a knife can have on victims, their families, and our communities and that’s why Operation Sceptre presents an important opportunity to raise awareness of knife crime and educate on the dangers of carrying a knife.
“Preventing and tackling knife crime is a priority all year round for Merseyside Police, our Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership (MVRP) and our partners and as a result, we’ve seen a significant reduction of 15% in knife crime offences this year.
“While this is a very welcome drop, we absolutely cannot rest until that figure is reduced to zero. There is never a valid reason to carry a knife in public and evidence shows those who carry knives, even for self-defence, are more likely to end up suffering harm. Merseyside Police take robust action against those who arm themselves, but we know that enforcement alone will not tackle the root causes of knife crime and that’s why prevention is at the heart of all our work.
“Through our MVRP, we are using a public health approach when it comes to interventions to try and prevent incidents in the future, particularly through wide-ranging education programmes. This includes through Knifesavers, which sees local trauma surgeons who have treated victims and seen the heartbreak of a grieving family who have lost a loved one to a mindless act of violence, working with young people to bring home the realities of using a knife and our Mentors in Violence programme which sees young people empowered to try and prevent violence. Innovative initiatives like these are critical if we are to see incidents continue to decrease in the years to come.”
Knife Surrender Locations
Open Monday to Friday 10:00 – 20:00 and Saturday 10:00 – 18:00 • St Anne Street • Birkenhead • Huyton • St Helens • Southport
Open Tuesday to Friday 10:00 – 18:00 • Admiral Street • Wallasey • Kirkby • Newton-Le-Willows • Bootle (Marsh Lane)
The surrender runs from Monday 13 November until Sunday 19 November.
If you have information about someone carrying a knife, or know someone involved in crime, you can report any concerns on 999 if a crime is in progress, via 101, or their social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC.