‘We’re not going to police our way out of it’: South West police forces on knife crime

  • Watch Verity Wishart's report here

Operation Sceptre wants to raise awareness of the work being done to tackle the number of people using knives, including weapon sweeps and community education. 

Leanne Reynolds has campaigned against knife crime ever since her friend Dontae Davis was stabbed to death in 2021. 

She said: “It’s passion through pain, it’s evolving. You go through different emotions daily, weekly, and I just want to educate young people, I want to preserve life. They’re our next generation and I don’t want them to be burying young people.”

Police forces across the region are taking part in this year's anti-knife campaign.

Ch Insp Mike Vass is the knife and crime lead for Avon and Somerset Police. Credit: ITV News

Operation Sceptre is a week of national action raising awareness of the ongoing work to tackle, disrupt and prevent knife crime within communities.

Ch Insp Mike Vass, knife and crime lead for Avon and Somerset Police, said: “Although we do those things this week, this goes on every single day of the year all across Avon and Somerset.

“Whether that’s groups of or individuals that we’re concerned about and we engage with them, we also take the time to try and preempt that and just gain awareness throughout the year with our young community.” 

One element of that work is the installation of catastrophic bleed kits in Bristol.

Operation Sceptre is a week of national action. Credit: ITV News

Ch Insp Vass said: “We want to gain awareness in the community that that is available, we’re making it as far-reaching as we can but we need your help to say where would you want it and if you can help fund it.” 

Cllr Ellie King says there’s a lack of funding for essential youth provision. 

She said: “Many of our supportive networks for young people to a greater education and greater options in life have disappeared and melted away.”

In Swindon, Wiltshire Police have installed four surrender bins for people to anonymously discard weapons. 

Supt Guy Elkins, from Wiltshire Police, said: “We’re not going to police our way out of it. We have to work with partners, we have to work with schools. To raise awareness, to educate the youth of today that knife crime - one isn’t being tolerated, but also the impact of carrying knives within the community.”