“Strike! Strike! Strike!” came down the radio as officers began their raid on a home.

Just minutes before, the team of seven had been briefed on the operation in hand.

They were looking for evidence of drug dealing but believed they might find weapons, such as knives, in the property too.

This is a family home. The plan was to enter as the door opened for the morning school run, rather than battering it down.

Acting Inspector Callum Appleby explained why they would do it this way. “It’s traumatic to smash through a door and we want to minimise the impact on children.”

East Anglian Daily Times: Acting Inspector Callum ApplebyActing Inspector Callum Appleby (Image: Callum Appleby)

There was a cool almost casual feeling to the meeting, which finished after the team decided a woman should be ‘grabbed’ first.

Knocking down doors is routine for this group made up of uniformed and plainclothes officers from the Scorpion and Sentinel units of Suffolk Police.

I was paired with Acting Insp Appleby. We parked out of sight of the house and listened. Nothing came down the radio for a while. Then we heard: “A vehicle has pulled into the drive” … “An older female” … “Strike! Strike! Strike!”.

As the older woman went through the door the team made their entry. It was not the plan, but it worked. When Acting Insp Appleby and I arrived a suspect, a man, was already in handcuffs.

A search of the property began. Inside, family photos hung on walls above drawers the police rummaged through. Upstairs a knuckle duster was found.

The Team Sergeant checked the shed. On a table in the middle was what police believed was drug paraphernalia and baking soda, which can be used to cut cocaine and make crack.

East Anglian Daily Times: The table in the shed with baking soda, scales and cannabis paraphernalia The table in the shed with baking soda, scales and cannabis paraphernalia (Image: Jude Holden)

Mr Appleby explained what would happen next as the search wound down: “We didn’t arrest him because he’s agreed to attend the police station voluntarily for interview.

“After the investigation is complete, he could be cautioned or charged but it depends on his offending history.”

He added: “We found things that suggest involvement in drug supply, but no drugs were found and there isn’t enough to arrest him for anything related to drug supply offences.

“However, knuckle dusters are illegal which he will be interviewed about. We found a pen knife too but that’s not illegal to have in the home.”

I drove off with Acting Insp Appleby but this was not the only job.

Police have been redoubling their efforts against knife crime this week as part of a national campaign called Operation Sceptre.

Officers are also going to schools to educate children on the dangers of carrying knives and turning up at around 150 shops to check if knives are being sold safely.

The crackdown comes after data was released last month by the Office for National Statistics, which showed a big increase in weapon possession offences year-on-year, with a 16% increase between June 2022 and June 2023, compared to June 2021 to June 2022.

We headed to Stowmarket and visited B&M's store. Each time, Acting Insp Appleby introduces himself, he starts with “nothing to worry about”. 

East Anglian Daily Times: B&M Store Supervisor Amy Grant and Inspector ApplebyB&M Store Supervisor Amy Grant and Inspector Appleby (Image: Jude Holden)

The B&M supervisor showed us to the knife section which had all the required “Challenge 25” signs to avoid underage sales. Wix passed the test too.

East Anglian Daily Times: Knife section in WixKnife section in Wix (Image: Jude Holden)

Mr Appleby spoke about the importance of tackling knife crime as we drove away.

“If people know someone is carrying a knife, tell us. Just because they are carrying it doesn’t mean they will go to prison. If it is a young person who doesn’t understand the possible impact of what they’re doing, the consequences could ruin their lives and whoever they might injure. If people tell us through Crime Stoppers or our website, we will act.”

East Anglian Daily Times: Jude HoldenJude Holden (Image: Jude Holden)