Knife arches go up unannounced to tackle blade culture

Throughout this week, knife arches are being deployed across a number of undisclosed locations around the city and county.

It is all part of a seven-day operation – National Operation Sceptre, which aims to ‘reduce knife crime and disrupt the supply of knives’.

The initiative, which started Monday, saw a number of knife arches set up in a number of hotspot locations to target those carrying knives.

Officers will also be carrying out stop and search activity where appropriate and visiting habitual knife carriers to deliver the force’s #LivesNotKnives campaign messages.

Officers were deployed in Leicester city centre as part of Operation Spectre which is supported by the force’s #LivesNotKnives campaign.
(Image: Leicester City Police)

Already this week, a 30cm blade was recovered when police boxed in a car at a petrol station in the city, while a police dog’s help meant suspects carrying knives were caught by officers.

Chief Inspector Manjit Atwal, who leads the force’s response to knife crime, said: “Tackling knife crime, including those who carry knives, is a priority.

“This week of action has long been planned but forms part of our collaborative Lives Not Knives campaign which works with the Violence Reduction Network (VRN) and partners including schools, councils, health and charitable organisations, as well as parents to support with the issue across the board.

“The force’s recent knife crime report, published at the end of October, revealed a 28% decrease in knife crime incidents year on year. Whilst this is very encouraging we know there is further work to be done.”

Operation Sceptre runs twice a year nationally – this year, with Covid-19 guidelines in place.

As part of the week-long initiative, the Leicestershire Police force and its partners will host a number of digital sessions for schools and knife crime awareness classes for teachers and pupils

Awareness classes will enable pupils and teachers to discuss what leads to knife-carrying as well as offer advice and support.

More than 6,000 pupils have enrolled from across the county.

A new programme, Mentors in Violence Prevention, run by the VRN will equip secondary students to play a role in preventing violence.

Chief Inspector Atwal said: “It is important that we have positive conversations with our young people and enable them to realise that change is possible, there is help and support available.

“We have worked across the force with local neighbourhood policing areas, school liaison officers and partners to broaden our offering and there is lots of helpful information on our website.

“Our work to tackle knife crime continues as a priority, we are doing everything we can to catch offenders and deal with them appropriately. Ultimately, knife crime will not be tolerated on our streets.”

Leicestershire Live – Leicester News