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Met Police launches anti-crime drive

KNIFE CRACKDOWN: Some of the hundreds of weapons recovered in Operation Sceptre’s June phase

AS SCHOOLS gear-up for the end of term, the Metropolitan Police Service is carrying out a series of activities under Operation Sceptre in an attempt to deter young people from carrying knives and prevent offences during the six-week break.

The latest phase of Operation Sceptre will see a focus on prevention; with intelligence-led stop and search operations at key transport hubs across the capital during key times, such as the end of the school day. Met officers will be joined by colleagues from British Transport Police and City of London Police, both of whom have now provided permanent officers to the Op Sceptre Taskforce.

ENGAGEMENT

Schools officers will be increasing engagement with pupils to ensure young people are aware of the dangers involved in carrying a knife as they head off on their summer holidays.

The Op Sceptre Taskforce will be employing its usual variety of tactics, which include intense weapon sweeps, intelligence-led policing operations to confiscate knives and proactive operations to target repeat knife crime offenders; as well as increasing the visibility of police officers.

In addition, a number of bespoke projects have been running in certain boroughs which aim to divert young people away from knife crime and raise awareness of the dangers of carrying a knife.

Acting Detective Chief Superintendent Sean Yates, Operation Sceptre, said:

“We know that the summer period can see an increase in knife offences, so are ensuring we take positive action to try and prevent offences by working with our fellow police colleagues to remove knives and offensive weapons before any harm is caused.

“But such proactive action is only part of the solution. The Commissioner recently met with a group of young people from across London at a community round table discussion to get a different perspective about why young people carry knives and how we can all come together to drive down knife crime.

“At the event, the Commissioner highlighted how enforcement can only get us so far. What we really need to focus on is reducing offences: by changing hearts and minds; attitudes and behaviours. The work of our schools officers and the various projects and conferences across the Met are helping to achieve this.”

As part of the initiative, students from the Met Film School in Ealing have worked with local officers to produce a short film aimed at highlighting the dangers of knife crime. The unique piece takes the perspective of a kitchen knife in its role as a utensil; before morphing into an item used as a weapon to cause harm.

Issued via the local Ealing Police Twitter account, the film has already been taken into some primary schools in the borough where its open ending provided a talking point for the young people to discuss knife crime issues. The borough will be looking to make it a more widely available resource so that it can be shown to as many young people as possible.

OPPORTUNITIES

Also, officers from Merton have been running a programme that places disadvantaged young people with positive role models with a view to offering them opportunities to improve their situation. ‘Raising Starz’ offers 10 and 11-year-olds from schools across the borough workshops and sporting activities where the aim is to develop their social skills around areas such as teamwork, taking responsibility, decision-making and communication.

The Met’s Primary School Challenge has seen 132 schools across London compete against each other to test their knowledge around issues including knife crime, drugs, social media and criminal responsibility. The culmination of this work will be a final quiz-style competition held in Waltham Forest with up to 128 children taking part.

In Brent, officers are to hold a knife crime conference for parents and carers aimed at giving them an awareness of what knife crime is and their role in helping to prevent it. Officers will also discuss what the Met is doing to help safeguard young people against knife crime in the hope we can all work together to ensure young people are given the best possible chances in life.

Superintendent William Duffy, from the City of London Police, said:

“Although knife crime is thankfully rare in the Square Mile, we are committed to working alongside our colleagues as part of the Operation Sceptre Taskforce.

BORDERS

“Criminals do not respect the invisible borders that separate different policing areas and we are determined to deal with knife crime wherever it may be found in the capital. Thanks to this collaborative approach a number of transport hubs across the different force areas have been identified.

“Officers from the Metropolitan Police Service, the British Transport Police and the City of London Police will be working together, conducting intelligence-led operations with one aim of tackling knife crime.”

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