Work to reduce the impact of knife crime across the North East has seen police arrest 142 people, recover 121 weapons and educate 500 children. 

Between November 13 and 19 Northumbria Police took part in Operation Sceptre – a week of action which builds on the extensive work officers, staff and volunteers are carrying out to tackle serious violence and take weapons off the streets.

As part of the operation, officers from the force carried out 146 stop and searches, 19 weapon sweeps and 81 people were visited by specialist officers after attempting to buy and import offensive weapons into the country.

The Northern Echo: A police officer arresting a man on the streets of the North EastA police officer arresting a man on the streets of the North East (Image: NORTHUMBRIA POLICE)

Red surrender bins were also in place at a number of police stations and 90 unwanted sharp items were disposed of.

A total of 28 retailers were also visited alongside Trading Standards to test out their policies.

Alongside action on the streets of the region, members of Northumbria Police's Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) also helped deliver a powerful message to 467 pupils, handing out copies of a powerful letter penned by the mother of murdered schoolboy Tomasz Oleszak.

The Northern Echo: A police officer attending an address in NewcastleA police officer attending an address in Newcastle (Image: NORTHUMBRIA POLICE)

Chief Superintendent Joanne Park-Simmons, Force lead for knife crime and serious youth violence, now runs Northumbria Police’s newly created Prevention Department.

She said: “Knife crime is an issue which touches everyone across the Force area and requires a communal solution.


“As a police force, our role is to keep people safe, and to relentlessly pursue those individuals carrying and using weapons for their own gain – and putting others at risk.

“Operation Sceptre is a great way for us to show the public just how passionate and determined we are about tackling this type of criminality.

“This time around we have had incredible support, and I would like to thank Kamila Wisniewska, the mother of Tomasz Oleszak for her powerful contribution.

The Northern Echo: Police officers also patrolled the Metro on Operation SceptrePolice officers also patrolled the Metro on Operation Sceptre (Image: NORTHUMBRIA POLICE)

“As someone who is still grieving and trying to come to terms with the lasting damage knives can cause, I know it will not have been easy for her to write that letter – but her message is loud and clear – let’s all continue to take action and save lives.”

Ch Supt Simmons added: “Op Sceptre has delivered some amazing results but I want to reassure communities this is not a one-off. Enforcement activity and disruption is going on year-round, as is the work we carry out with our partners across retail, transport and a range of other areas.


Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness has also called on more 'robust' actions against those that use and carry knives on the streets of the North East. 

She said: “What we are doing is working, it’s having an impact. 121 arrests by Northumbria Police shows the robust action has, and will continue to pay off.  

"Operation Sceptre is about shining the spotlight on the efforts that are being carried out day in, day out, to prevent violence in the North East.

Recommended reading:

Subscribe to The Northern Echo and get a Premium Plus subscription for just £6 for 6 months

"We all know that to truly fight knife crime it can’t be about law enforcement alone. We have to get ahead of the problem.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner added: "Kids need to understand that carrying a knife is never the answer. Putting the heart-breaking letter written by Kamila, Tomasz’s mother, in front of school kids across the region couldn’t make that message any clearer.

"The impact of knife crime on individuals, families and the wider community is devastating – it impacts everyone. My Violence Reduction Unit will keep rolling out education, support and intervention to prevent young people from choosing to pick up a knife.”