Samurai swords and ninja knives part of knife amnesty haul

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A samurai swords and ninja stars were among more than 400 knives handed over in Nottinghamshire Police’s latest knife amnesty.

A total of 418 knives were handed in during the week-long amnesty.

The haul - deposited during the national Operation Sceptre - was 50 per cent higher in half the time of the last amnesty in 2013, when 278 knives were handed in over two weeks.

The increase is believed to represent a growing desire from the community to help prevent knife crime and take weapons out of circulation.

The blades - handed in at the 13 amnesty bin locations at police stations and partner agency front counters across the county - ranged from Samurai swords, meat cleavers and axes to machetes and flick knives.

A further 36 assorted weapons were also handed in, including knuckle dusters, arrows and even ninja throwing stars.

“This is a fantastic result and a clear sign of the support from the public in our bid to take weapons off the streets,” said Chief Inspector Donna Lawton, Nottinghamshire Police’s knife crime lead.

“We are fully aware that no one wants knife crime in their neighbourhoods and we have a range of tactics in place to tackle it, from enforcement to education.

“Sadly knife crime is increasing nationally and it is important that we all recognise this societal challenge and help educate young people against carrying weapons.

“The support of the community is absolutely vital in tackling this issue so to get such a big reaction from across the county during this amnesty is incredibly positive and I am genuinely grateful for everyone’s help.”

The knife amnesty was just one part of Operation Sceptre, which ran from 17-23 September and was supported by police forces and partner agencies across the country.

During the week Nottinghamshire Police also seized 36 weapons and made 35 knife-related arrests, carried out 24 sweeps of public areas looking for hidden weapons, made 15 educational visits to schools and carried out a test purchase operation visiting 22 shops - five of which failed by selling knives to children.

Officers also delivered Safety Zone knife crime inputs to 1,500 Year 6 students over two-week period including Operation Sceptre.

Assistant Chief Constable Kate Meynell said: “The knife amnesty was a great chance to take even more weapons out of circulation and supplement the work we do all year round to tackle knife crime.

“We have the only dedicated Knife Crime Team outside of the Metropolitan Police and have introduced Schools and Early Intervention Officers to schools across the county to help prevent knife crime happening in the first place.

“The success of this knife amnesty is really pleasing because it shows the strength of feeling in the community who, like us, want to make a difference.

“The support of partners agencies, including Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service and the local councils who hosted an amnesty bin at some of our shared sites, is particularly welcome. And interestingly the second highest number of weapons was handed in at Gedling Borough Council’s Civic Centre, the only fully non-police site which took part - so we will be exploring the potential for involving partners from other non-police linked organisations in future amnesties.”

Councillor David Ellis, Portfolio Holder for Public Protection at Gedling Borough Council, said the council was happy to support the operation.

“To see a 50% increase in knives handed in is a very positive result,” he said. “We will continue to work closely with Nottinghamshire Police to do everything we can to keep knives out of the wrong hands. Our council office had the second highest number of knives handed in which is very pleasing and I’d like to thank residents for their co-operation and their contribution to making our streets safer.”