North Yorkshire Police arrest nine people in successful week of action against knife crime

Nine were arrested in connection with weapons offences during Operation Sceptre.
Nine were arrested in connection with weapons offences during Operation Sceptre.

Nine people were arrested in connection with weapons offences as part of Operation Sceptre, the national week of action against knife crime.

North Yorkshire Police officers carried out high visibility patrols and targeted enforcement work with the British Transport Police throughout the week, which resulted in the nine arrests.

Three of those arrested - a 52 year-old man, a 35 year-old man and a 22 year-old man - were subsequently charged with possession of a bladed article in a public place and are due to appear in court.

Four were released under investigation alongside other offences.

The fifth will face no further action after providing a valid reason to possessing a knife.

The last person, a 14 year-old boy, was released and referred to a Youth Outcome Panel.

Throughout the week, officers also partnered up with Trading Standards to undertake test purchasing operations in local retailers to test their compliance with knife sale regulations to under 18s.

Six out of ten retailers failed to take due diligence to challenge the 16-year-old buyer.

Det Supt Steve Thomas, who is the operational lead for knife crime in North Yorkshire Police, said: “It is an offence to sell a knife, knife blade, razor, axe or other article which has a blade or is sharply pointed to anyone under 18.

“All it takes is for one knife to fall in the wrong hands to have a devastating impact on many lives – not just the victim but their friends, family, community and the perpetrator as well.

“Whilst this week’s results show that more work is needed to ensure that all shops are following the law over knife sales, I would like to say to well done to those stores who were prepared to challenge a youngster trying to buy knives.

“Their intervention could save a life.

“We will continue to work with partners in the future to check how well stores are meeting their legal responsibilities around selling knives to children.”

As part of the week of action, schools were provided with materials and advice to help educate young people about the dangers of carrying knives. This including encouraging people to ‘Speak Up’ about concerns and advice for how schools can deal with incidents involving a young person found with a knife or weapon.

Several young people were provided with an ‘Op Divan’ early intervention which can include ‘one-to-one’ support and education on the dangers of carrying a knife, following information that they may have been thinking or had been carrying a knife or weapon.

Eight knives were surrendered at police stations across the county following the week of action.

Anyone who has information on knife crime in their local community should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101. Information can be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.