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Police say 'collective effort' needed to banish threat of knife crime

A detective superintendent has called for a ‘collective effort’ from communities to banish the threat of knife crime from the streets.

Thames Valley Police (TVP) ran a series of activities last month as part of Operation Sceptre, a nationwide campaign aimed at stopping people carrying knives.

The force placed amnesty bins in police stations across the region, with 153 bladed articles handed in within Berkshire from September 16 to September 23.

But Det Supt Stan Gilmour, responsible for the co-ordination of Operation Sceptre for TVP, said the force needs the support of community groups, local authorities and public health organisations to raise awareness of the dangers of carrying weapons.

He said: “I’ve been in the police for 26 years and I’ve seen knife and gun crime bubble to the surface several times.

“We’re in a moment now where we’re certainly seeing an increase in knife crime and it’s clear we need to do something collectively about it and that’s a national issue.”

He added: “The message needs to come from people at all levels to change that narrative around violence so that people don’t feel that settling disputes by the use of violence is a normal way of doing things.”

Police enacted a Section 60 order in Slough last weekend which granted them temporary powers to carry out stop and search tactics regardless of whether officers suspected people were carrying knives or bladed articles.

The move was in response to the death of 15-year-old Elton Gashaj who was stabbed to death in Salt Hill Park on Saturday, September 22 and the stabbing of a man in Langley the following Wednesday.

Det Supt Gilmour said the order was a ‘key tool’ in the fight against knife crime but added it had to be used ‘sensitively’.

“From our perspective we use that tactic in a way that conforms to the law and public opinion,” superintendent Gilmour said.

“If you abuse that power you lose it and we’re sensitive to the use of stop and search bearing in mind we know there are potential negative outcomes.”

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