Officers at Cambridgeshire police will next week be joining colleagues across the country in an operation to tackle a rise in knife crime.
The week-long initiative will include an amnesty where knives can be handed in without fear of prosecution, as well as officers conducting extra patrols and speaking to young people about the dangers of carrying weapons.
In addition to this, teenagers will be conducting test purchases at retail outlets. This is where someone under the age of 18 attempts to buy a knife to see if they are asked for identification.
Possession of weapon offences increased in Cambridgeshire from 487 in 2017 to 527 in 2018 – a rise of 8.2 per cent. Cambridgeshire police said the figures are in line with a rise in offences across the country and remain below the national average.
From Monday (March 11) amnesty bins will be located at Thorpe Wood Police Station in Peterborough, Parkside Police Station in Cambridge and Wisbech Police Station for a week.
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, e.g. 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).
The maximum penalty for an adult carrying a knife is four years in prison and a fine of £5,000.
Inspector Matt Snow said: “The action our officers take next week will involve both education and enforcement. It’s important that we are talking to young people about the dangers of carrying knives and the potentially devastating consequences.
“We need local people to have what may be difficult, but incredibly important, conversations. If you know someone who carries a knife please encourage them to make use of the amnesty. You could save a life and prevent the person you know from ruining theirs with a lengthy prison sentence.
“If people don’t make use of the amnesty and they are found to be carrying a knife in a public place they could face a hefty fine and further prosecution by the courts.”
Anyone who knows someone who carries a knife can also report it anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visiting https://crimestoppers-uk.org/.