HAMPSHIRE Police are currently carrying out a weeklong ‘crackdown’ on knife crime in the county.

Operation Sceptre started on Monday, November 15, and sees all 43 police forces across England and Wales and the British Transport Police taking part in the efforts to crack down on knife-enable crime and violence.

The week of action will see an intensification of work that takes place across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight day in day out to tackle knife crime. It gives the force an opportunity to focus on the different strands of education, engagement, prevention and enforcement, all of which are important in playing our part to reduce knife crime.

It has been welcomed by one Andover councillor who said that by “working together” and “educating young people” strides can be made to eliminate knife-carrying from the community.

Engaging with retailers, youth groups and charities will be an important part of the week. Officers will also continue to work closely with young people to further understand the reasons why individuals carry knives and also to educate them around the dangers and illegality of carrying one.

Most importantly, the week will aim to highlight that there are no positives to carrying a knife.

Hampshire Constabulary's lead for knife crime, Chief Inspector John Halfacre, said: "Knife crime can have a devastating impact on families and communities, police forces are working night and day to tackle this problem. Operation Sceptre offers us the chance to work across all forces to concentrate our efforts in tackling knife crime, a significant contributor of violence in the UK.

“The week will focus on many different areas, including education, engagement and prevention. This is a system wide approach and one we work closely with our partners to achieve. We are asking all forces to intensify the efforts that take place all year round in getting knives off the streets, potentially saving lives.

“We want those who may be carrying a knife out of fear to come forward and speak with police or an adult that they can trust such as a youth worker, teacher at school, charities or by calling crimestoppers. We want to help young people get out of the cycle of violence and stop the devastation caused to them and their families due to knife crime.

“You will see knife arches, honesty bins and officers doing weapons sweeps during the week as we work to remove knives and stop serious violence on our streets.”

The scheme comes after an incident in Andover earlier this month, when a young boy was attacked at Vigo underpass, and threatened with a knife by a group of teenagers.

Ward councillor Iris Andersen told the Advertiser that she “welcomes” the Operation Sceptre action.

“I would like to see this happen in Andover,” she said.

“If this could be brought into our schools, I would totally welcome that. It’s just great. I would like to know when they will start visiting the schools to educate the young people.”

Cllr Andersen added: “I do not want us [as residents] to distance ourselves from this issue, and say it’s just up to the police, or the council, or whoever. If we all work together, and we are trying to, then we can achieve something.”

The Advertiser has contacted Hampshire Constabulary for area-specific details of the scheme.