01:05PM, Thursday 21 March 2019
Knives taken out of circulation in Maidenhead and handed in to police have undoubtedly saved lives, according to a police officer.
Hundreds of blades were collected in bins throughout the Royal Borough as part of Operation Sceptre, a Thames Valley Police crackdown on knife crime.
The bins allowed people to deposit the potential weapons without repercussions and Maidenhead Police Station tweeted that it had collected more than 200 knives in its bin.
The haul included butchers’ knives, swords, serrated-edge blades and kitchen knives.
Police Sergeant Ryan Powell said the weapons were one part of a larger crime picture.
“I have no doubt getting these knives out of circulation has saved lives,” he said.
He had been surprised by the knives handed in, he added.
“It was a large number,” said PS Powell, of the RBWM Problem Solving Team.
“You know there are items in circulation of that nature but you don’t perhaps expect to see that many.”
He believed the number they had collected showed that the public were more aware of the damage of knife crime.
Operation Sceptre, a week-long operation that ended on Sunday, followed a wave of media
reports about fatal stabbings across the UK, which led to calls for Prime Minister Theresa May to fund more police.
The Government later announced an extra £100m to forces to help tackle knife crime as part of the Chancellor’s spring statement.
There has been a 72 per cent increase in possession of knife offences in the borough, PS Powell said, although some of that could be attributed to ‘innocent possession’.
He added that the knives are one part of a larger crime picture.
“Carrying knives will never be acceptable and we find knife crime is, without a doubt, linked
to drug dealing,” he said.
“I would urge anyone using drugs, thinking it is just a harmless bit of fun, to take another look at what they are doing.
“Consider how many of our young people may have been harmed in order for them to get their bag of drugs.”
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