Amnesty campaign sees reduction in local knife crime

Timely message as youths urged to give up their knives

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Hounslow Police

Police in Chiswick

Key messages of the campaign:

  • If you carry a knife out of self-defence you run the risk of having it turned on you.
  • 52 teenagers are victims of knife crime every week in London.
  • Every weapon handed in during the amnesty will be a weapon that cannot be used in crime.
  • Carrying a knife is illegal and won't be tolerated. It can land you with up to 4 years in prison. A criminal record can affect the rest of your life - it may prevent you from getting a job, going to university or college or even travelling abroad to some countries.
  • If you bin your knife at police station during the amnesty (May 24 - June 30) you won't be prosecuted.
  • Ordinary, law-abiding citizens do not want to see their communities blighted by violence. We are doing everything we can through legislation, law enforcement, working with communities and across government to prevent knife crime.

The home office launch a National Knife campaign this week to encourage people to hand in their knives as part of a knife amnesty.

At a time when knife crime is never far from the headlines, the local initiative, Operation Blunt, has showed some levels of success. 

Latest figures released by the Met show that after knife amnesty bins were situated at Police stations in Chiswick, Brentford, Hounslow and Feltham, the borough currently has one of the lowest knife crime totals in London.

Ian Johnston, Chief Constable of British Transport Police, said "Knives are very dangerous and it is unlawful to carry them for protection. People have been seriously injured or killed by knives in circumstances where those convicted state they had no intention of hurting anyone. Our message is simple - don't carry knives for protection; it is unlawful and it is dangerous.

"We will be working with our communities to take as many knives off the street as possible during the amnesty. During the campaign we will also be targeting operations to identify those unlawfully carrying knives with a view to prosecuting them. Help us to help you make our communities safer. Taking knives out of circulation will definitely contribute to this."

The Met's Commander Alf Hitchcock, who has overall charge of Operation Blunt said "We are supporting the National Knife Amnesty with a range of proactive enforcement operations and prevention and education initiatives. We are working extremely hard with schools and colleges to raise awareness about the dangers of carrying knives.

"There is a common assumption, particularly with the young, that everyone is walking around with a knife in their back pocket. A recent search arch operation at a school in Ealing revealed that none of the kids checked had a knife on them. A similar operation in Haringey, involving hundreds of 16 to 18 year olds, also saw no knives detected. This demonstrates the reality that very few people actually carry knives and so young people should not feel they have to carry one to protect themselves.

"So far I am satisfied with how Operation Blunt has progressed. However we are still at an early stage and much of our prevention work with children and teenagers will not become apparent for sometime. We continue to work closely with our Blunt IAG. Their support and advice has been invaluable in setting out our prevention and educational activities.”

Chief Inspector Andy Morgan added "Hounslow borough has additional uniform patrols during the period of the amnesty and arrest will be the result for persons searched and found to be in possession of knives. CPS support to charge offenders will be sought in every case."


May 23, 2006