Harwich: Jail for man who carried knife ‘for protection’
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A man spotted by sharp-eyed police officers throwing away a knife has been jailed for 16 weeks.
Sol Clarke, 23, of Towler Street, Peterborough, appeared before Colchester magistrates on Monday, 14 November 2022 and admitted possession of a knife in a public place.
His sentence came at the start of a week-long knife amnesty in our county, which allows for anyone who wants to dispose of bladed weapons to do so safely and without fear of prosecution in one of 16 knife bins around Essex.
Two officers from our North Disruptor team were patrolling in the Harwich area on 16 October 2021 when they spotted Clarke and a woman acting suspiciously in Station Road near Dovercourt rail station.
They stopped and spoke to the pair and Clarke was arrested after the officers found the knife in the grass nearby.
The court was told that Clarke had told the officers during a custody interview that he always carried a knife for his own protection.
“It is dangerous to carry a knife, whatever the reason. “You may be tempted to use it and it could be used against you. And the introduction of a knife into any scenario causes that situation to escalate quickly, despite the initial intentions of the person who produces it. “Carrying a knife in a public place is an offence so I would urge anyone who does this to think carefully about the possible consequences and then drop it into one of our knife bins.” PC Ryan Gilroy, of our North Disruptor team
Operation Sceptre runs until Monday 21 November and 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.
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.
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