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We’ve destroyed almost a tonne of knives, surrendered in knife bins across Essex in the past six months.
That’s 11,263 knives and other sharp objects & weapons, weighing 940 kilogrammes, which have been taken off our streets and out of people’s homes so they can do no harm.
After each collection, the weapons are taken to a secure location and destroyed.
We’ve got 16 knife bins in towns and cities across our county where you can safely deposit knives and other bladed articles.
They are funded jointly with the Office of the Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (OPFCC) and the Essex Violence and Vulnerability Unit (VVU).
We also work with the Ben Kinsella Trust to raise awareness of the dangers of carrying a knife.
In the 12 months to April 2022, 1,629 knife-enabled offences were recorded in Essex, a drop of 13 per cent from the 1,881 offences recorded during the 12 months to April 2020 – the last year pre-Covid and so the best year to compare with.
Chief Inspector Ian Hughes, of our Serious Violence Unit, says:
“Our knife bins are available to the public 24/7 to deposit knives and other weapons safely and they are very successful in removing thousands of knives from our streets, homes and communities every year.
“Indeed, knife-enabled crime is falling across Essex. But we know there is more to do to reduce the number of tragedies involving knife injuries which unfold every year.
“Officers are continually focused on identifying offenders who use knives and on using stop and search if they suspect someone is carrying a knife.
“We also use knife arches and the Open Gate system to deter people from carrying knives in public.
“And we work closely with the Essex Violence and Vulnerability Unit, the Ben Kinsella Trust and other partners to educate people of the danger knives pose and to make them aware that carrying a knife will increase the risk of them or someone else being seriously injured by it, rather than it protecting them.
“This work also seeks to divert people away from involvement in knife crime, gangs and violence in general and towards other activities, such as sports and volunteering.
“If you have information about someone who carries a knife or who has committed a crime, then you can tell us by reporting it online or by ringing 101. If it’s an emergency or a crime is in progress, ring 999. If you want to report anonymously, please do so via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.”
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 Violence and Vulnerability Unit (VVU) and the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (OPFCC) 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.
We have a knife bin in every district council area. Check to find your nearest one:
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.