Nine arrests as police target knife crime and county lines activity
PUBLISHED: 15:48 19 November 2020 | UPDATED: 18:04 19 November 2020
Nine people were arrested in Suffolk last week as part of national operation targeting knife crime and county lines gang activity.
Officers enjoyed a “productive week” during the Operation Sceptre campaign, which takes places twice a year and focuses on taking knives off the streets of the county.
Police said the arrests were made over the county for knife possession offences and 53 properties known to have links to county lines and cuckooing – where drug dealers exploit vulnerable people for use of their property – were also visited by officers.
High-visibility patrols at Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds railway stations were also conducted alongside three weapon sweeps at parks in Ipswich.
Schools liaison officers and community engagement officers also delivered assemblies and classroom talks on the dangers of knife crime, county lines and gangs to children and teachers in schools.
Superintendent Kerry Cutler said: “This was a really productive week for us in terms of addressing the national issue of knife crime. Despite the constraints of operating under COVID restrictions we continued to target those involved in county lines, and carry out positive work with the community, residents and the engagement with schools. We were warmly received in schools and there were some really searching and intelligent questions from the children on the topic of knife crime and gangs.
“It’s important to point out that while this was a dedicated week of action, our work to tackle knife crime continues all year round. We will continue to highlight the dangers of carrying knives, and other weapons, and the devastating consequences this can have on the lives of young people. If you are found illegally in possession of a knife you will be arrested, put before the court and brought to justice.”
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More than 3,400 knives and bladed items were also recovered from the knife surrender amnesty bins across the county.
Three knife bins are located in Ipswich (outside the fire station, Queen’s Way and Bramford Road) and at police stations in Lowestoft, Bury St Edmunds, Mildenhall, Sudbury and Haverhill and in Stowmarket – at the junction of Stricklands Road and Ipswich Street.
Police said the high number of knives was mainly down to the Covid-19 pandemic which meant bins had not been emptied for 12 months.
Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner, said: “Operation Sceptre gives the constabulary an opportunity to raise awareness of knife crime and also give people an opportunity to deposit blades safely – I fully support this work.
“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 would implore all parents to talk to their children about the dangers of knife crime and encourage anyone who has a knife or any other weapon, to dispose of it responsibly and immediately. The knife bins are available all day – every day. Ultimately it is about making Suffolk as safe as possible.”
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