A knife amnesty will take place across Cambridgeshire next week, allowing anyone to hand in a weapon without prosecution, as new figures show knife crime in Peterborough and countywide is on the rise.
In Peterborough knife crime rose by 24.3% between March 2015 and March 2016. In Huntingdonshire it rose by 26.8% and in Fenland is rose by 46.2%. Countywide, knife crime in Cambridgeshire rose by 37.2%.
The amnesty starts on Monday (October 17) and is part of a week-long national initiative called Operation Sceptre. The campaign aims to reduce knife crime and take weapons off the street.
Amnesty bins will be situated in police stations in the county, as well as Bayard Place in Peterborough. Officers will also take mobile amnesty bins out into communities in an effort to reach more people and promote key safety messages.
In Peterborough, this work will be supported by officers from the newly formed Prevention and Enforcement Service (PES).
There were 328 possession of weapons offences in Cambridgeshire in 2015/16, a 37.2% increase on the previous year. However, the figure is in line with a rise in offences across the country and remains below both the national and regional averages.
It is illegal to:
- sell a knife of any kind to anyone under 18 years old.
- carry a knife in public without good reason - unless it’s a knife with a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less, eg a Swiss Army knife
- carry, buy or sell any type of banned knife
- use any knife in a threatening way (even a legal knife, such as a Swiss Army knife)
On August 18 2016 a ban came into place on the sale, importation and manufacture of so called “zombie killer knives” in England and Wales.
The maximum penalty for an adult carrying a knife is four years in prison and a fine of £5,000. Last week the Sentencing Council for England and Wales called for tougher penalties to be introduced.
Inspector Mark Rogers said: “The figures for crimes involving offensive weapons remain low and you are very unlikely to be a victim of knife crime, however the rise in incidents is concerning.
“We have a clear message for this campaign - it’s not worth carrying a knife because it could ruin your life.
“We would urge anyone, including parents and carers, who know someone who carries a knife to encourage them to dispose of it without fear of prosecution.”
Anyone who knows someone who carries a knife can report it anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visiting https://crimestoppers-uk.org/.