An operation which will see police conducting weapons sweeps and test purchasing involving knives has launched.

Today (Monday November 13), police launched Operation Sceptre in Lancashire alongside the Lancashire Violence Reduction Network and other partners.

Operation Sceptre is a national knife crime week of action which runs twice a year, with this year's campaign starting today and running until Sunday November 19. 

The operation aims to raise awareness of the impact of knife crime and the multi-agency approaches happening to reduce and prevent it.

Activity taking place across the county this week will aim to protect, prevent, and educate young people from being involved in violent crimes.

The Lancashire Violence Reduction Network (VRN) will be using Home Office Grip funding to coordinate increased police activity including high visibility patrols, weapon sweeps and engagement sessions.

They will also be working with Trading Standards to carry out test purchasing and educate businesses on the laws around selling knives.

The week of action is also an opportunity for people to surrender any weapons at one of the Violence Reduction Network’s surrender bins which are permanently located across the county. 

Chief Inspector and VRN operational lead, Dave Oldfield, said: “Knife crime continues to be an issue not just in Lancashire but across the country and it’s not something that one agency or organisation alone can fix.

"Operation Sceptre is a chance for ongoing activity to be intensified and the work of all organisations to be highlighted to create a more joined up approach.

“The Lancashire Violence Reduction Network is proud to be working alongside the Lancashire Constabulary and other partners to protect the public and communities and prevent knife crime.

"This activity includes surrender bins, high visibility police presence in hotspot areas, weapon sweeps for hidden or discarded knives, test purchasing and engaging with young people in schools and community organisations.

“We all have a part to play in preventing knife crime and I’d urge anyone that knows someone who might be carrying a knife or carrying a knife themselves to use one of our surrender bins across the county.”

During the last Operation Sceptre in May, more than 7,000 young people were engaged with during education talks around the consequences of carrying a knife, more than 120 arrests were made, and 1,105 weapons were taken off the streets.

Andrew Snowden, Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire, said: “Cracking down on those who carry knives is vital to keeping our streets safe.

"The focused activity that Operation Sceptre sees across Lancashire builds on the tireless work around the clock by officers to remove the dangerous weapons from communities and protect the public.

"The carrying of knives is not acceptable and every one that is confiscated by the police, or surrendered at a designated place, is one less potential victim.

"Education around the dangers is important, especially with young people, but targeting offenders and getting their weapons removed from our streets has to continue to happen.

"After securing funding for the continued, important work of the Lancashire Violence Reduction Network, I will continue to support them and ensure the chief constable has the resources he needs to proactively tackle knife crime and other violent crime, bringing offenders to justice."

If you have any information about knife crime in Lancashire, contact the police on 101 or report anonymously to the independent charity, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. In an emergency, always dial 999.