Police revealed they arrested 2,000 people and confiscated 723 weapons while thousands more were handed in through surrender schemes. Home Secretary Priti Patel welcomed the “impressive” results of Operation Sceptre, saying it would save lives. She revealed meeting parents who have lost a child to knife crime is the toughest part of her job and vowed to plough more money into beating it. Sceptre saw the 43 forces in England and Wales along with British Transport Police target those known to carry knives. Officers carried out weapons sweeps, extra patrols and set up scanning arches to catch offenders.
In the same week Border Force officials thwarted 1,000 attempts to illegally smuggle blades and other weapons into the country.
Knife crime has been on the rise since 2013 but the increase is slowing following targeted operations.
Office for National Statistics figures last month showed a one per cent drop in a year. Police have also expanded their work in schools to educate youngsters about the dangers.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty, National Police Chiefs’ knife crime boss, said: “The harm caused to families and communities through the tragic loss of life relating to knife crime is devastating.
“That is why focusing on this issue remains a top priority for policing.
“Despite the challenges and the extra demand placed on the service as a result of the pandemic, the sheer number of arrests and seizures made as part of Operation Sceptre sends a clear message we will not tolerate knife crime.
“We will continue to explore every opportunity to tackle it.”
Comment by Home Secretary Priti Patel
One of the most difficult things about my job as Home Secretary is meeting and comforting mums who have lost their young boys to the scourge of knife crime.
It cuts short young lives, leaves families devastated and causes fear and misery in the neighbourhoods it blights.
That is why I have made tackling this senseless violence a key focus for Government and law enforcement.
It is why I have backed the police with more powers and resources to go after criminals, take knives, weapons and drugs off the streets and, ultimately, keep the law-abiding majority safe. This includes the recruitment of 20,000 additional police officers, with 6,000 already on our streets keeping us safe.
And the impact of this is clearly demonstrated by the success of Operation Sceptre last week.
Right across our country, police forces intensified their operations to tackle knife crime, alongside partner agencies including Border Force.
The results of this national effort are impressive.
All 43 police forces in England and Wales and the British Transport Police took part in this important operation.
More than 10,000 knives were taken off the streets as a result of seizures, searches or being surrendered, and officers arrested at least 2005 people, with over 500 of those arrests relating specifically to knives.
Every weapon or knife taken off our streets is potentially a life saved.
So I will continue giving the police the resources, tools and powers they need to keep young people safe.
And I hope that initiatives such as Operation Sceptre will mean fewer families are left shattered and fewer communities ripped apart by such awful tragedies in the future.