Machetes, samurai swords and crossbows seized from Suffolk streets, figures reveal

Suffolk's former Chief Constable, Simon Ash launching the Bin a Blade amnesty in December 2010.

Suffolk's former Chief Constable, Simon Ash launching the Bin a Blade amnesty in December 2010.

Police chiefs last night insisted Suffolk is a safe place to live despite new figures revealing officers have seized more than 500 weapons being carried in public in the last four years.

Almost 200 knives form part of the arsenal taken by police since 2011, along with 10 machetes, 13 samurai swords, four nunchucks, two crossbows, 12 guns, nine axes and a hand grenade.

In total 532 weapons have been seized on the county’s streets. Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore admitted the range of items was “horrifying”.

He added: “It is certainly of some concern to me that the level of use of offensive weapons continues at similar levels through the last few years so we must make people understand that resorting to violence doesn’t resolve anything and is inexcusable.

“I’m completely committed to supporting campaigns such as Bin a Blade, and working with other partners to rid us of this scourge in society, keeping us all safe and looking after the victims of these awful attacks.”

More than half (272) of the people who were caught with the weapons were charged, 68 were cautioned, while 124 received a community resolution or no further action, according to the data, seen in a Freedom of Information request.

The figures have stayed consistent throughout the four-year period, standing at 131 in 2011, 137 in 2012, 121 in 2013 and 123 last year.

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Superintendent Louisa Pepper, of Suffolk police, said the seizures were largely a result of pro-active police work to take weapons off the streets.

“We are fortunate that a relatively small percentage of crime in the county involves incidents where someone has been hurt with a weapon and we will continue to do all we can to catch those who are carrying such items,” she said.

In every year since 2011, Ipswich has seen the most weapons handled in its streets, with 160 of the seizures made in the town.

In 2012, more than 35% (50) of the 137 weapons seized in Suffolk were from Ipswich, and it is already leading the way in 2015, with seven weapons found so far this year.

The town that has seen the second highest number of offences (86) is Lowestoft, followed by Bury St Edmunds which has had 48 weapons seized.

In 2011, Suffolk Constabulary launched a knife amnesty campaign called Bin a Blade, which led to more than 6,000 knives being left anonymously in six amnesty bins across Suffolk. The project continued through 2012, 2013 and 2014, with the total now standing at more than 13,000.

The initiative was inspired by anti-knife campaigner Holly Watson, whose brother Lewis, 23, was fatally stabbed in Sudbury in September 2009.

Yesterday Brendon Wardley, 19, of Wellington Court, Ipswich, admitted possessing a knife in a public place when he appeared before South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court.

Wardley claimed he had the knife, which had a blade of four to five inches, for his own protection.

The case was adjourned until May 6 while a pre-sentence report is compiled.