Knife amnesty in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire as possession of weapon offences rises

A knife amnesty will take place in the county next week in a bid to tackle associated crime and take weapons off the streets.

Police forces across the country will take part in Operation Sceptre, allowing members of the public to hand in knives without prosecution.

Weapons seized during a previous knife amnesty by Cambridgeshire police

Weapons seized during a previous knife amnesty by Cambridgeshire police

Possession of weapon offences in Cambridgeshire have risen by nearly 25 per cent in 2017/18 compared to figures from the previous financial year. However, the figure is in line with a rise in offences across the country and remains below the national average.

From Tuesday (September 18) to the following Monday, amnesty bins will be located at Thorpe Wood Police Station in Peterborough, Parkside Police Station in Cambridge and Wisbech Police Station.

In addition to amnesty bins, officers will be visiting schools to talk about knife crime and test purchases will be carried out at retail outlets.

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).

The maximum penalty for an adult carrying a knife is four years in prison and a fine of £5,000.

Inspector Matt Snow said: “This amnesty provides us with an excellent opportunity to join with colleagues across the country to get knives off the streets.

“Knives ruin lives and it’s important we are doing all we can to tackle the issue. Please make use of the amnesty bins next week – you could save a life.

“I’d urge the family and friends of people who carry knives to encourage them to make use of the amnesty. Even if you feel the person would never actually use the weapon, by disposing of it you completely eliminate that risk and you could be preventing them from being prosecuted.

“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.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite said: “People carrying knives often do so without understanding the real consequences of using them - the devastation caused to victims who are seriously injured or fatally wounded and the impact on their families and friends. I ask everyone to support this campaign.”

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/.

Statistics on possession of weapon offences 2016/17 vs 2017/18:

Cambridgeshire: 412 - 514 (+24.8%)

Cambridge City: 100 - 98 (-2%)

East Cambs: 9 - 18 (+100%)

Fens: 33 - 50 (+51.5%)

Hunts: 56 - 78 (+39.3%)

Peterborough: 187 - 232 (+24.1%)

South Cambs - 27 - 34 (+25.9%)