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South Wales Police

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Knife Crime: Operation Sceptre

Incidents involving knives can have tragic consequences. Knife crime is not a part of everyday life in South Wales, but we recognise the importance of taking action to prevent a problem occurring.

Operation Sceptre is our approach to tackling knife crime, and associated issues of serious violence and illegal drugs.

Our work includes both targeted operations and engagement and education to reassure young people they are safer not carrying knives.

We work alongside partner organisations to support our aims of keeping South Wales safe from knife crime.

If you have suspicions that someone may be carrying a knife, or involved in drugs, you can contact police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Superintendent Wendy Gunney, South Wales Police lead for Operation Sceptre, said:

“Police forces across the country have recorded a rise in knife crime, but mercifully the level of those offences in South Wales is not the same as in other parts of the UK, with knife crime remaining rare for the vast majority of communities here.

“But we can never be complacent. Every incident involving a knife has consequences for all those involved, and so this is an issue we take extremely seriously. Under Operation Sceptre, we have put in place a number of measures to address any concerns communities may have, and clamp down on those who are carrying and using knives.

“We have invested in a number of measures to help tackle the issue. These include dedicated units based primarily in our two cities, part of the wider proactive and intelligence-led activity in response to the needs of communities across South Wales – some of which you may see, but much of which is carried out by specialist covert teams.

“Engaging with young people is extremely important. We speak to thousands of youngsters every year to help get across the message that picking up a knife is always the wrong choice and actually puts you at greater risk of harm. We need to understand why young people would make the terrible choice to carry a knife, and think it’s normal and acceptable to do so. Instead, we want to tell young people about the risks, while not stoking their fears.

“We also continue to work with partners including in health, education and Trading Standards, and have also carried out more than 6,100 stop searches – an intelligence-led tactic we use to tackle this important issue – in the last six months.

“We are determined to disrupt those who use weapons, especially where the most vulnerable are put at risk as a result. The awful effects of knife crime are obvious, and for every individual involved there are family members and friends who themselves will be devastated.

“We would urge everyone to speak to their loved ones, but also let their local police or community support officers know if they think someone is carrying a knife. Alternatively, independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted, completely anonymously, on 0800 555111.”


Know the law

You may be breaking it without even realising.

It’s illegal to:

  • sell a knife to anyone under 18, unless it has a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less
  • carry a knife in public without good reason, unless it has a folding blade with a cutting edge 3 inches long or less
  • carry, buy or sell any type of banned knife
  • use any knife in a threatening way (even a legal knife)

Any sharp instrument that is used in a threatening way (e.g. a screwdriver) is also an offensive weapon.

Police officers have the right to stop and search any person or vehicle if they suspect an offence, including possession of an offensive weapon.

The risk that someone you know may be carrying a knife or may be affected by knife crime can be very worrying and raise many questions.

Advice for parents

The best way to keep young people safe is to talk to them about the danger.

Talking can be difficult, but keep trying. Your son or daughter may be scared or unwilling to talk. Maybe they think they need to carry a knife because they feel threatened.

Look out for:

  • Problems at school or a reluctance to go to school
  • Issues of bullying or theft of personal items
  • A new network of friends

You may suspect that your son or daughter is carrying a knife. For example, you may discover a knife is missing from the kitchen.


Advice for students

It is illegal to carry a knife even if it’s for your own protection. Police, and teachers at school, can search anyone suspected of carrying a knife.

By carrying a knife, you could get a criminal record or even a prison sentence. This will have an impact on future job prospects and whether you’re able to travel abroad to some countries.

Carrying a knife significantly increases the risk to you being injured. Your own knife can be used against you or someone may attack you in ‘self-defence’.

How would you feel if a younger brother or sister carried a knife because they had seen you do it, and something happened to them as a result?

Using a knife, even in self-defence, can ruin your life as well as someone else’s. Even being there when someone else uses a knife can get you in trouble.

Walk away if you are confronted with the threat of violence.

Tell somebody you trust – a parent, teacher, friend or the police.

You can also report anything you know about knife crime 100% anonymously via Fearless.

More information on the Possession of Weapons, including knives, can be found elsewhere on this website.


Lives Not Knives