POLICE forces across the region are supporting a national clampdown on knife crime this week.

The aim is to take dangerous weapons off the streets and deter people from carrying knives in the first place.

The coordinated week of activity – Operation Sceptre – will see officers carry out a range of targeted activities, such as extra patrols, pursuing known offenders and educating youngsters.

Detective Superintendent Fran Naughton, of North Yorkshire Police, said: "There is no reason to carry a knife, and no place for knife crime, in North Yorkshire.

"Levels of knife crime in our area are low, but we cannot be complacent.

"Even with the current Covid-19 restrictions in place, crime hasn’t stopped, and just one knife in the wrong hands could have a devastating impact.

"We want to use this week to highlight the potentially fatal consequences of carrying a knife, and reinforce the hard work that goes in to taking these weapons off our streets."

Cleveland Police Detective Chief Inspector Wendy Tinkler said: “Since January this year the force has arrested 767 people in relation to reported knife crime which has resulted in 257 charges, 17 juvenile triages and two summons to court.

“Knives and sharp objects are extremely dangerous if they are in the wrong hands and our aim is to educate people on the dangers of carrying knives and the consequences people will face for committing knife related crime."

Assistant Chief Constable Neil Hutchison, from Northumbria Police, welcomed the week of action which is an extension of the proactive work already under way to tackle such offending.

The Northern Echo:

Assistant Chief Constable Neil Hutchison, from Northumbria Police

He said: “Knife crime and serious violence has absolutely no place in our communities and we are committed to making sure the streets we live and work continue to be as safe as they can be.

“Thankfully, the North-East sees lower levels of knife crime than comparative areas of the country but we can’t be complacent, any incident is still one too many.

“The activity carried out as part of Operation Sceptre is not a one-off but an extension of the work which is going on year-round to reduce the impact of knife crime.

“Our communities can be assured we are working tirelessly to not only bring offenders to justice, but to steer young people away from engaging in serious violence in the first place.

“This week, our officers will be executing warrants, carrying out searches, seizing harmful weapons and anyone caught in possession of a knife will be arrested.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness added: “Our communities have told us they want to see violent criminals targeted and their neighbourhoods made safer, and Op Sceptre will do just that this week.

“We will always work to educate individuals around the dangers of knife crime, and my Violence Reduction Unit will be working directly with schools and colleges this week to do so.

“However, where individuals fail to engage with our support and put the lives of others at risk, full enforcement will be taken."