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Amnesty campaign starts after summer of knife crime in Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 21:24 17 September 2018

Suffolk Constabulary have installed knife amnesty bins across the county for weapons to be handed in without punishment. Picture: KATIE COLLINS

Suffolk Constabulary have installed knife amnesty bins across the county for weapons to be handed in without punishment. Picture: KATIE COLLINS

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With almost a dozen stabbings in Suffolk this summer, the county’s police force is standing behind a national campaign to end knife crime with a week of action.

Tavis Spencer-Aitkens died on June 2 on Packard Avenue - six people are already charged with murder in connection to his death.   Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILYTavis Spencer-Aitkens died on June 2 on Packard Avenue - six people are already charged with murder in connection to his death. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

The campaign, which runs September 18 to 24, is aiming to make the dangers and risks of carrying knives and blades even more apparent to those considering arming themselves with weapons.

The most recent attack saw a man stabbed in the torso and leg in Bramford Road at the start of the month.

After the tragic death of teenager Tavis Spencer-Aitkens, police are also urging parents and carers to talk to their children about the dangers of carrying knives and the terrible impact that knife crime can have on them, their friends, their family and their community.

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: “If there is a message that is very pertinent in Suffolk right now, it is please help us stop knife crime.

“Since the last week of action earlier this year, a young man sadly lost his life on a residential road in Ipswich. The tragic stabbing of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens must focus our attention on this terrible knife issue and act as a step change for the behaviour of our young people.

“We need to do all we can through education, peer pressure, policing and sentencing to make it absolutely clear that it’s never acceptable for a person to carry a knife or weapon.”

Local policing teams, drugs teams and response officers will use intelligence-led deployments, weapons sweeps and high-visibility patrols to target and disrupt offenders who carry and use knives.

Suffolk police have accepted that the majority of young people do not carry knives, but urge parents to consider that it is possible for children to be in contact with friends who do so without the parents’ knowledge.

Suffolk Constabulary is also working closely with schools and colleges to educate on the dangers of carrying a knife. There is a revitalised programme of officers delivering knife crime awareness messages alongside advice and guidance to children and young people across the county.

Knife amnesty bins across the county give people the opportunity to dispose of knives and blades safely. Since the Bin a Blade campaign was launched in 2011, well over 20,000 bladed items have been deposited.

Superintendent Kerry Cutler, lead for Operation Sceptre at Suffolk Police, said: “If you are found illegally in possession of a knife you will be arrested, put before the court and brought to justice.

“Carrying knives or other weapons do not keep you safe. By carrying a knife you are putting yourself in much greater danger, and more likely to become involved in a violent situation and get injured yourself.

“This is a key message which we emphasise in our awareness-raising work with children and young people across Suffolk.

“There are a number of knife amnesty bins across the county in place across the county and I would encourage people to use them and help us to keep Suffolk safe.”

Two new knife amnesty bins have been installed in Queen’s Way and Bramford Road in Ipswich.

In addition there is also a knife bin outside Ipswich Fire Station and at police stations in Lowestoft, Bury St Edmunds, Mildenhall, Sudbury and Haverhill.

Children may have talked about knives with friends or heard stories about those that carry them, but parents/carers should still consider having the conversation, with further information from Suffolk Constabulary available here.

Anyone with information on knife crime in their local community is asked to contact Suffolk Police on 101, or pass information to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency, always dial 999.

Suffolk Constabulary are using the hashtag #StopKnifeCrime to discuss their work on social media.

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