A WEAPONS amnesty is being launched in Blackburn as concern grows about the number of people walking the streets armed with knives, knuckledusters and guns.
Police in Mill Hill said the amnesty was a way of giving residents a chance to get rid of offensive weapons without facing criminal consequences.
If the first amnesty in seven years works it will be extended across the town.
PC Leo Noctor, who is behind the campaign, said his key priority was keeping the people of Mill Hill safe while reducing the number of crimes involving a weapon.
He said: “A weapon can be anything from a knife, a knuckleduster or a pair of scissors found in the home.
“This whole campaign is about raising awareness around the dangers of carrying a weapon and the life changing effects of using a one.
In recent weeks, there has been several incidents involving weapons in the area.
- Firearms officers were called to Mill Hill after police received reports of a gun being waved around during a mass brawl.
The weapon was spotted as up to 13 men clashed on land near the Navigation pub in Canal Street on January 29.
- A cut throat razor was confiscated from a 16-year-old boy. Officers said the teen had been on his way to a fight in the town centre and he admitted carrying the potentially lethal weapon as protection.
- Last week, officers confiscated a four inch bladed knife from a man walking home from work in Mill Hill. He pulled it out to threaten another man after getting into a row in the street.
PC Noctor said: “There is an issue around some people carrying weapons in Mill Hill, but I must stress that it is a minority of people.
“This campaign is all about reducing the number of weapons making it on to the streets and raising awareness of the consequences of carrying a weapon.”
“I will be visiting local schools to talk about the issues of drugs, alcohol and weapons.
“I really want to use the shock factor to get the children thinking twice about carrying a knife.”
Home Office statistics released earlier this month showed violent crime was increasing across the county, despite overall crime falling.
From September 2011 to September 2012, violent crime increased by 1.2 per cent, from 21,006 reports to 21,257 – a rise of 251 crimes.
Funding is now being sought to purchase specialist bins that allow weapons to be deposited but prevent anything being taken out of the bins.
The bins are expected to be in place by the summer in Mill Hill Community Centre.
Anyone who deposits a weapon will be able to do so anonymously without the worry of facing criminal proceedings.
PC Noctor said: “The amnesty is open to anyone.
“I hope teenagers who may have a weapon will use it as well as older members of the community.
“I want people to think how they would feel if a member of their family was attacked with a weapon.
“By giving people the chance to hand in these items, we can help make the streets safer and prove that the police will not tolerate anyone being armed in public.”
The last time an amnesty was held in 2006, more than 1,525 weapons were handed in across Lancashire.