Record number of knives surrendered in Hertfordshire amnesty

Hertfordshire police knives amnesty: 680 knives were deposited in the bins at police stations in Hat

Hertfordshire police knives amnesty: 680 knives were deposited in the bins at police stations in Hatfield, Stevenage and Watford, with mobile bins and operations bringing the total up to just shy of 1,000. Picture: Herts police - Credit: Herts police

A record number of knives have been surrendered in Herts during a week-long amnesty.

The county’s police force took part in the amnesty – which ran from Monday, March 11, until Sunday – as part of a national campaign called Operation Sceptre, which bids to reduce the number of illegal knives in circulation.

During the amnesty 680 knives were deposited in the bins at police stations in Hatfield (216), Stevenage (105) and Watford (78)– which included swords, military knives, knuckle dusters and a large amount of kitchen knives.

More than 250 items were surrendered during operations in Potters Bar, 21 knives were deposited at bins in St Albans Civic Centre and a further seven were dropped in to the permanent bins located in Waltham Cross.

In Stevenage, knife sweeps were carried out at The Oval, The Hyde and Bedwell shops every day during the amnesty week. No knives were found during these patrols. Officers are also working with local retail outlets that currently stock knives to develop a voluntary code of practice.

Other activities carried out during the campaign included test purchasing operations with cadets to ensure retailers were adhering to laws regarding knife sales to those under 18.

David Lloyd, Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, said: “These amnesties are an integral part of Hertfordshire’s Serious Violence Strategy to reduce the number of knives on the streets, but also to send the message out that carrying a knife won’t keep you safe.

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“The response from the public has been very good and we’ve had great feedback. However, we all need to continue to work together to ensure young people are aware of the risks of carrying knives.”

Inspector Andrew Palfreyman from Herts police’s Crime Reduction Unit, which led the campaign, said: “The amnesties not only reduce the number of knives in circulation, but also give forces a good platform to conduct a whole range of related operations including knife sweeps, knife arch detections and test purchase operations.

“As part of our three-year strategy we are working with our partners in education, local government and social services to educate young people about the potential consequences of carrying a knife. We will also be looking at the impact that knife crime has on individuals, their families and communities – and how knives are getting into the hands of those under 18.

“The unlawful use or possession of a knife is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in Hertfordshire – and we will continue to target those we know are carrying knives.”