POLICE forces across the region are backing a week of action to tackle knife crime.

And while rising knife crime in big cities is prompting national concern, North Yorkshire Detective Superintendent Steve Thomas said there is no room for complacency in communities where it is less common.

He said: “Reports of tragic and life-changing incidents involving knives and weapons have been in the headlines in recent months which reminds us how all too easily a life can be taken away by someone’s reckless choice to carry a knife.

“We would like to reassure the residents of North Yorkshire that they live and work in one of the safest places in England, and levels of knife crime in are low, but we are not complacent.

“This week we are supporting a national campaign to keep our county this way.”

The co-ordinated week of action launches on Monday, March 11 and will see officers visit schools, shops and transport hubs.

Sergeant Neil Northend, who oversees Youth Engagement for North Yorkshire Police, said: “The North Yorkshire Police Youth Team will be raising awareness through schools with young people about the dangers of carrying knives, providing safety advice and signposting messages both online and directly in the community.

“The majority of young people in North Yorkshire do not carry, or think of carrying, a knife so we want to focus on those who are thinking of doing so, by providing that early engagement, support and diverting them away from doing so.

He added: “We are also encouraging friends, families, schools and members of the community to speak up as they too can also play their part in raising awareness of the dangers of carrying knives and being involved in knife crime.”

Throughout the week of action, officers will be working with Trading Standards to undertake test purchasing operations to ensure that shops are not selling knives to under 18s.

Officers will also be carrying out high visibility patrols and targeted enforcement work with the British Transport Police.

Cleveland Police Superintendent Wendy Tinkler, lead on knife crime within the force, said: “It’s really important that we do all that we can to take knives off the streets.

"The simple fact is that in the wrong hands, knives can be deadly."

During a week-long campaign in Cleveland last October, more than 100 knives were surrendered.

In the 12-month period up to December 2018 there were 415 knife crime incidents in Cleveland - a reduction of ten percent on the previous year.