Knife crime is low in Lincolnshire – but we are not complacent, and we understand that education and enforcement can support our goal to keep the county free of violent crime.
That is why we are taking part in Operation Sceptre this week. Op Sceptre is a national campaign which takes place twice a year, supporting the work Lincolnshire Police carries out year-round to ensure residents are safe from offensive weapons and weapon-enabled crime in their community under the banner Op Raptor.
So far this year, there have been 42 offences for possession of an offensive weapon, and a further 146 public order offences which intimated, referenced or involved an offensive weapon.
During this week, there will be:
Knife bins at the front desks of police stations in South Park in Lincoln, Boston, and Sleaford. Knives or other offensive weapons can be dropped off with no consequences, where they will be disposed of safely.
School engagement to educated young people around the dangers and consequences of knife crime.
Those identified as having carried knives in the past, or as potentially likely to in the future will be actively contacted and educated about the dangers and repercussions of knife crime by our Neighbourhood Policing Teams.
Our mobile digital screen will be out in populated spots across the East of the county with educational knife crime messages.
Carrying a knife or other offensive weapon does not protect you. In fact, we know that carrying a knife or other weapon means you are more likely to be hospitalised with an injury caused by violence. There is no ‘safe place’ to stab someone – any stab can be fatal – and the consequences will be just as severe.
We don’t want you or anyone else to be placed in a dangerous situation because you thought carrying a knife or other offensive weapon was a good idea. It’s not. Knives destroy lives, both yours and those you love.
As well as the physical consequences of being stabbed or slashed, there are serious legal consequences which come hand in hand with carrying a knife:
You could face up to four years in prison, even if you don't use it.
You can get a criminal record just for carrying a knife.
Carrying an offensive weapon is a serious offence and carrying it for self-protection is not a defence.
We use a wide range of tactics to identify if someone may be in possession of a weapon. This includes the use of some methods that you will have seen, such as CCTV, drug detection dogs and warrants, and others that you won’t.
If we get information that people are carrying a weapon, or even if they possess an offensive weapon in the privacy of their own home, we will intercept them, we will stop them and we will take that weapon off them. They will feel the full force of the law.
But this on its own won’t tackle the problem. Ending knife crime is a community effort – from parents and guardians, teachers, family friends, and charities, to young people and their peers, local businesses, British Transport Police and other agencies – coming together to understand what is driving violent crime and how to deter it.
We want Lincolnshire to be the safest place to live work and visit, and tackling violent crime which involves offensive weapons together will help us achieve this goal.
The Criminal Justice Act 1988 is the legislation which deals with the law around offensive weapons. It is illegal to have possession of a bladed article in a public place without reasonable excuse, and from July this year, the Home Office announced changes to the legislation which now means it is also an offence to possess certain items, even in private.
This includes zombie knives, shuriken or death stars, and knuckledusters, and means people can no longer keep them at home. A new legal definition of flick knives, banned since 1959, has also been brought in, resulting in more of these bladed weapons being outlawed.
Anyone possessing one of the above offensive weapons can be sentenced to up to 6 months’ imprisonment or a fine or both.
You don’t have to be involved in knife crime. There is help and support available from:
www.knifefree, a campaign which aims to highlight the consequences of carrying a knife and to inspire young people to pursue positive alternatives.
You can also pass information about knife crime anonymously through Fearless, which is a site where you can access non-judgemental information and advice about crime and criminality, and report crime with 100& anonymity.
Anonymous reporting is also available through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org.
The topic of knife crime can be a scary one, and you can get support through the charity www.barnardos.org.uk and you can also speak to us by calling 101 and asking for the local Neighbourhood Team. In an emergency, always call 999.
Someone I care about might be carrying a knife. How can I help them?
The campaign #knifefree has some tips for people who are concerned about a young person becoming involved in knife crime, and they advise that when you speak to them, it’s important to be clear that they have a choice, even when they think they may not:
Young people face all sorts of pressures. Finding out why they carry can help lead to a solution.
Simply listening and giving time to a young person can encourage them to think about their decisions and behaviour.
Teaching them the consequences of knife crime can also help them to understand that carrying a knife is not the answer.
Making them understand how upset you’d be if they got caught with a knife or got injured could help them realise the impact their actions have on you and/or others.