Police arrest eight amid county lines investigations
PUBLISHED: 18:59 01 October 2019 | UPDATED: 21:26 01 October 2019
Eight people across Suffolk have been arrested as police attempt to crack down on county lines and knife crime.
The arrests came as part of Operation Sceptre - a national week of action against knife crime from September 16 to September 23.
As part of the operation, police undertook proactive patrols and executed Misuse of Drugs Acts warrants at six addresses linked to county lines activity - one leading to the seizure of £25,000 in cash.
A growing problem
It follows increasing news of knife crime across the county in recent years, with the murder of Tavis Spencer Aitkens in 2018 showing the horrific consequences of knives.
The so-called "county lines" gangs, which operate outwards from London into rural communities are known to operate across the county, with Ipswich's rivalry between Neno and J-Block also adding to what Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore has referred to as a "growing problem".
Youngsters buying knives
Three businesses have also received warnings after selling knives to a 16-year-old police cadet as part of an undercover operation. The law states no one under the age of 18 in England and Wales can buy a knife.
What can be done to prevent young people joining gangs?
Superintendent Kerry Cutler from Suffolk police believes more needs to be done to support young people, both at home and in the outside world in a bid to prevent more youngsters getting involved in gangs.
Supt Cutler added: "We need to give more support to our young people, more practical help and more skills to be streetwise without being at risk. We need to help them to have more hope and less fear. There is a duty on all of us to do more effectively and to do more now. Safe and secure communities in the future start with safety and security for all our young people.
"I continue to ask parents, carers and those people working with young people to talk to their children about the dangers of carrying knives and the terrible impact that knife crime can have on them, their friends, their family and their community."
Knife amnesty bins across the county have also been emptied as part of the week-long operation, with 1,427 blades deposited since March 2019.
Suffolk's police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said: "We need to do all we can through education, peer pressure, policing and sentencing to make it absolutely clear that it's never acceptable for a person to carry a knife or weapon. I find it really disappointing that anyone carries a blade of any kind. I would implore all parents to talk to their children about the dangers of knife crime.
"This growing trend has got to stop, carrying a knife just doesn't make you safe and as we all know it can lead to dreadful consequences."