A crackdown on knife crime has resulted in more than 600 weapons being recovered and 170 people arrested across the North East.

Officers from the North East Regional Organised Crime Unit (NEROCU), supported by Northumbria Police, Durham Constabulary and Cleveland Police, carried out the week-long campaign as part of Operation Sceptre.

The operation highlights the impactful ways in which policing is working to reduce knife crime and tackle violence across the region, including putting bins in key places to enable people to hand over weapons anonymously.

It engages with local communities, works with young people to dispel myths around knives or carrying out test purchases with retailers.

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The latest initiative ends with 170 arrests, 612 knives seized and thousands of young people educated around the risks and consequences of knife crime.

The Northern Echo: Some of the weapons handed in during the operationSome of the weapons handed in during the operation (Image: North East Regional Organised Crime Unit)

Following the activity, NEROCU Detective Chief Inspector Daryll Tomlinson, said: “Knife crime has a devastating impact on families, friends and communities. Our work to tackle this, shine a light on initiatives, charities and local organisations and help bring about real change for our communities will continue.

“As part of the intensification period we’ve made a considerable number of arrests and seizures across the region but another key role we play is educating young people and parents around the dangers of carrying a knife and the potential consequences.

The Northern Echo: Officers carrying out raids as part of the operationOfficers carrying out raids as part of the operation (Image: North East Regional Organised Crime Unit)

“By reducing the number of people carrying knives we’re reducing the number of lives lost, so please reach out and report any concerns you have or information that could help save a life.”

The operation has received the support of many families whose lives have been blighted by the devastating impact of knife crime and violence, including a bereaved mother whose son was stabbed to death.

Tanya Brown’s son Connor died at the age of 18 after he was attacked in Sunderland in 2019 after stepping in to defend others.

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Following the conviction of the two men responsible, Tanya became a prominent figure in the fight against knife crime and raises awareness of the devastation it can cause through her charity, the Connor Brown Trust.

The Northern Echo: More weapons seized during Operation Spectre.More weapons seized during Operation Spectre. (Image: North East Regional Organised Crime Unit)

She is also supporting the Northern Echo’s North East Knife Crime Taskforce, which aims to help organisations across the region to pool resources to save lives.

  • If you have information about someone who is in possession of a prohibited weapon, or want to report any suspicious activity, please get in touch with your local police force.
  • Alternatively, you can speak to the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111.