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Operation Sceptre: Tackling serious violence in Essex
We are committed to doing everything we can to tackle serious violence, particularly knife crime, and are working hard with other organisations to keep people safe and address the complex issues behind why some people carry weapons or become involved in violent behaviour.
The likelihood of being injured by a knife is low, with Essex being among the top ten safest force areas for this.
But we are not complacent.
Operation Sceptre is our targeted crackdown on knife crime, which is part of our day to day work to identify and deal with anyone intent on committing crime.
Since June, our officers, including Special Constabulary, have dedicated more than 5,875 extra hours to patrol areas we have identified for extra focus.
They use stop and search powers where appropriate and knife arches to identify anyone carrying weapons or drugs.
More than 225 separate policing operations have been carried out under Operation Sceptre, which includes work to gather information and evidence to take action against offenders, and we have made more than 800 arrests.
We also work closely with partners, including councils, businesses such as clubs and bars, and the British Transport Police to help keep people safe.
However, enforcement alone will not tackle the root causes of why people become involved in violent crime and knife crime.
The reasons behind why these offences are committed are closely associated with factors such as drug and alcohol dependency, gangs and domestic abuse. And there are wider socio-economic issues too, such as poverty, poor mental health, and lack of opportunities.
Among the minority of people who carry knives, some do so because they are afraid themselves and think a weapon will protect them.
As part of our partnership work to tackle these issues, we are part of a multi-agency Violence and Vulnerability Unit, which is mainly focused on gangs, county lines and child criminal and sexual exploitation.
It brings together agencies including Essex Police, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (PFCC), Youth Offending Service, Probation Service, councils and health service to work together to share information, tackle crime and safeguard vulnerable victims.
They also work closely with charities and community projects that support young people who are at risk of being exploited and being involved in crime.
“We are absolutely committed to doing everything we can to drive down violent crime. Every day we are working hard to get offenders off the streets and to protect the most vulnerable victims. Behind every statistic we see victims and their loved ones whose lives are changed irreparably by needless violence. We also see offenders who must not only be brought to justice but rehabilitated so that they can’t harm anyone else. This is a battle that we as a community must fight together. That includes educating people about the reality that carrying a knife will not protect them but put them at more risk of being hurt or of hurting someone. It’s about showing people there are alternatives to take their lives in a positive direction and helping them to do that. The public also has a major role to play in helping us to tackle knife crime. We urge you to please tell us or Crimestoppers if you know of anyone who is carrying a weapon or if you are concerned they are being groomed or exploited by criminals. We know you might be concerned about getting someone close to you in trouble. But it’s really important so we can make sure no-one comes to harm and that the most appropriate support is in place.” Assistant Chief Constable Paul Wells
How do I get help?
Essex Police can be contacted on 101 or if you believe you, or someone else, are in immediate danger please call 999. We are here to help and keep you safe.
You can also contact the Crimestoppers charity 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111 or use the anonymous online form at crimestoppers-uk.org
For more information
Anyone who is worried about someone or is looking for support themselves can visit knifefree.co.uk for advice
Victim Support provide free and confidential support if you have been a victim of crime. Find out more at victimsupport.org.uk