A weapons amnesty -excluding firearms- will take place next week following the revelation by Cambridgeshire police of a six per cent increase last year in offences involving illegal possession of knives.
Possession of bladed article offences increased from 309 to 329 in Cambridgeshire during the 2022/23 financial year compared to 2021/22,” said a Cambridgeshire police spokesperson. “An increase of six per cent.”
Next week’s amnesty is a follow up to last November when a similar amnesty resulted in more than 60 knives and other items being handed in.
“The amnesty will cover items such as knuckledusters, extendable batons, curved swords and zombie knives that were banned in July 2021, as well as knives,” said the spokesperson.
“It will not cover firearms.”
The week-long amnesty starts on Monday (15 May) with bins at Thorpe Wood Police Station in Peterborough and Parkside Police Station in Cambridge.
There will also be amnesty bins in South Cambridgeshire during the week. They will be available at Histon Police Station on 16 May from 8am until 1pm, Sawston Police Station on 18 May from 2pm until 7pm and Cambourne Police Station on 19 May from 2pm until 7pm.
The weapons amnesty forms part of the national ‘Operation Sceptre’ week of action. It will also include extra police patrols in ‘hotspot’ areas, targeting those believed to be carrying knives, work in schools and with retailers selling knives.
The week will be supported by officers, Specials, and police cadets.
The week-long initiative is part of ‘Operation Guardian’ – the Constabulary’s ongoing strategy to combat knife crime in the county.
Where knives are concerned, it is illegal to:
– sell a knife of any kind to anyone under 18 years old.
– carry a knife in public without good reason – unless it’s a knife with a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less, eg a Swiss Army knife
– carry, buy or sell any type of banned knife
– use any knife in a threatening way (even a legal knife, such as a Swiss Army knife)
The maximum penalty for an adult carrying a knife is four years in prison and a fine of £5,000.
Inspector Karl Secker said: “Regular amnesties are part of our ongoing strategy to tackle knife crime in the county. They provide people with an excellent opportunity to dispose of weapons responsibly and without being prosecuted.
“Amnesties are just one part of our strategy, with other important work such as engaging with young people, targeting habitual knife carriers, and conducting extra patrols are all on the agenda.
“It’s nearly two years since the law was changed, but some people still don’t know that it’s illegal to own certain items such as curved swords – even if kept on private property. This is the perfect time to get rid of such items.
“If you know someone who carries a knife, please speak to them about the amnesty and encourage them to do the right thing. By disposing of the weapon, they will be safer, as well as removing the risk of being prosecuted.”
Visit Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s website for more information on the Offensive Weapons Act and to access a list of the banned items.
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