Knife crime week of action
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Knives have been taken off the streets before they can be used to cause harm during a week of intensified enforcement and patrols.
We took part in the Operation Sceptre national week of action, which ran from 9 to 15 November, and involved forces from across the country.
It was in addition to the work we do every day to tackle knife crime and violent crime, including action against drug dealers.
During the week, we arrested 21 people. In five of these cases, we recovered knives while carrying out stop and searches.
Our Op Raptor units, which target criminals involved in drugs gangs, arrested eight people on suspicion of possession with intent to supply drugs, and seized £15,000 in cash and 800 wraps of crack and heroin.
Targeted patrols were carried out in areas such as town centres, near train stations to disrupt criminals using the railway networks, and in places where we or the community have identified concerns.
In total, 46 knives were seized during the week.
These included ones that had been left by passengers at Stansted Airport as some weapons are illegal in the UK but are not illegal abroad.
Four knives were found during weapon sweeps across the county, where our officers searched potential hiding spots using by criminals to conceal weapons.
Colleagues from local councils, community safety partnerships and other organisations we work closely with supported us throughout the week.
Examples of arrests made included:
• A 17-year-old boy from Hornchurch, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was arrested at an address in Clarence Street, Southend, on 11 November. Officers also found two large knives, which have been seized.
He was charged with being concerned in supplying class A drugs and possession of cannabis.
• Four people were arrested on suspicion of drugs offences after a car failed to stop and drove dangerously in Orsett on Sunday 15 November.
A BMW 320 failed to stop for police and was followed to Welling Road, where a family reported the car mounted the kerb and narrowly missed them.
The four occupants got out of the car and ran off, but were chased on foot and arrested.
Drugs and cash were also seized.
The woman and three men were arrested on suspicion of offences including aggravated vehicle taking and drugs supply.
• A 26-year-old man from Basildon was arrested on the A127 in Rayleigh on 12 November on suspicion of fraud and being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine and heroin. He has been released under investigation while we continue our enquiries.
Detective Chief Inspector Lewis Basford said: “These are just some of the results we’re getting every single week from our ongoing efforts to target criminals involved in knife and drugs crime.
“Officers are out every day on patrol, carrying out drugs warrants, and gathering information and evidence against offenders.
“We’ve also been working closely with UK Border Force to tackle the importation of drugs and prohibited weapons.
“Items that are bought online and destined for Essex are intercepted at a postal hub near Heathrow, and passed to us for investigation.
“Since February, more than 120 parcels have been stopped and seized, preventing drugs and weapons from reaching the streets of Essex.”
The reasons behind why people get involved in knife and drugs crime are complex and cannot be resolved through enforcement alone.
That’s why we work closely with other organisations to make sure vulnerable people and children who are exploited by criminals receive the necessary support and safeguarding.
Educating children and young people about the dangers of knives, helping our communities spot the signs of exploitation, and steering offenders away from crime are also vital.
DCI Basford said: “If we can intervene at the earliest opportunity we can prevent people from being harmed and help young people steer away from crime.”
We are part of the Essex Violence and Vulnerability Unit, a multi-agency partnership that also includes the Office for the Police Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, Youth Offending Service, Probation Service, councils and health service.
It carries out joint operations, interventions, awareness and education programmes to support young people who are being, or at risk of being, exploited and involved in crime.