Community policing officers in Harlow have joined Harlow College in raising students’ awareness of knife crime.
On Tuesday 15 November, knife arches were set up at the college’s main student entrances to screen students as they entered the campus. Plain-clothes police officers were also stationed around the borders of the college.
It’s all part of our ongoing work to tackle the threat of knife crime and raising awareness of the impact it can have on individuals and communities.
“Harlow College has always been very supportive of the work we do to reduce knife crime and prevent harm coming to members of the community. “Operations like this are valuable in identifying offenders of knife crime and taking knives off the streets. “In doing such operations we can identify those who carry weapons and drugs and potentially present risk of harm to others, whilst also providing wider education around the seriousness of the matter. “We are very grateful for the co-operation from Harlow College, [taking] a partnership approach and working together, we can identify those at risk to ensure safeguarding is in place. “I am delighted to say that nothing was found during Tuesday’s search.” Inspector Natalie Rooney, of Harlow Community Policing Team
“On Tuesday, the college and our local police worked in partnership to educate our young people about the risks of knife crime, drugs and county lines and this aligns with Operation Sceptre Week. “The police brought in their knife arch and completed stop and searches to help advise students about the relevant risks and dangers. “We know criminals target young people as part of county lines and, with the cost of living crisis, the risks to young people increase. “The aim of the exercise was to advise young people of the relevant dangers that engagement with drugs and criminality present. Often young people don’t appreciate that this is a form of grooming and quickly escalates to more violent and threatening consequences.” Harlow College assistant principal Sallyann Abdelmoula
Our activity at Harlow College was part of Operation Sceptre Week, which runs until Monday 21 November. As well as promoting the disposal of bladed weapons safely in our knife bins, our officers will be carrying out weapons sweeps and more overt searches using knife arches in towns and cities around the county, as we did at Harlow College.
If you’re concerned about drug-related crime in your area or think someone may be a victim of drug exploitation or knife crime, please report it to us online where you can also use our online Live Chat service on weekdays (excluding public holidays) between 10am and 9pm. Alternatively, you can ring 101.
You can also contact the independent Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Always call 999 in an emergency.
Where you can dispose of weapons in Essex
We have a knife bin in every district council area. Check to find your nearest one:
Basildon Police Station, Great Oaks SS14 1EJ
Braintree Police Station, Blyth’s Meadow CM7 3DJ
Brentwood Town Hall, Ingrave Road CM15 8AY
Canvey Island Police Station Long Road, SS8 0JD
Chelmsford Police Station, New Street CM1 1NF
Clacton Police Station, Beatrice Road CO15 1ET
Colchester Police Station, Southway CO3 3BU
Grays Police Station, Brook Road, RM17 5BX
Great Dunmow: opposite Great Dunmow Library, White Street CM6 1AB
Harlow Police Station, The High, CM20 1HG
Harwich Park Pavilion, Barrack Lane CO12 3NS
Loughton Police Station, High Road IG10 4BE
Maldon District Council office, Princes Road CM9 5DL
Pitsea: opposite Chalvedon Social Club, Chalvedon Square SS13 3QX
Rayleigh Police Station, High Street SS6 7QB
Southend Police Station, Victoria Avenue SS2 6ES
Working to tackle knife crime
Our knife bins are, of course, just one element of our wider approach to tackling knife crime.
Our operational focus includes ‘hotspot’ policing, intelligence-gathering, using knife arches and the Open Gate system, and utilising additional powers such as dispersal orders and Section 60 powers, which are an extension of our regular stop and search activity.
We also work with partner agencies and charities to help divert people involved in, or at risk of being involved in, knife and violent crime or gang membership away from such lifestyles towards sports, education, volunteering and rehabilitation.
Research shows that carrying a knife doesn’t offer protection, in fact it increases the likelihood that an individual might be stabbed. Every time someone leaves a knife in a knife bin, they are making a positive decision to live knife-free, keeping themselves and those around them safe.
This is why we, the Essex Violence and Vulnerability Partnership (VVP) and the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex have partnered with the Ben Kinsella Trust, which was founded by actress Brooke Kinsella following the fatal stabbing of her 16-year-old brother Ben in an unprovoked attack on 29 June 2008 in north London.
One of the leading anti-knife charities, the trust campaigns against knife crime and for action and justice for those affected by it, working with more than 4,000 young people each year, educating them so they can make positive choices to stay safe and not stray into crime.
Making the right choices and keeping safe
Find out more about the work of the Ben Kinsella Trust at benkinsella.org.uk where you will find resources for young people, for teachers and practitioners and for parents about knife crime, making the right choices and keeping safe.