Operation Sceptre: knife crime awareness event at West Herts College
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Police greeted more than 2,000 students on their arrival at college on Wednesday (15 November) as part of a national week of action to raise awareness of knife crime.
Watford’s Safer Neighbourhood Team stationed themselves in the entrance foyer at West Herts College and used metal detecting wands to conduct person and property searches as 2,100 young people arrived for their lectures.
During the event – organised as part of the wider Operation Sceptre work throughout the county – the team took the opportunity to educate the students on the law around knives, and why carrying one makes you more likely to be injured in a violent incident.
Inspector Dan Jones, who leads Watford’s Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “We’d like to thank West Herts College for supporting us in carrying out this important proactive operation. Many students told us that they felt reassured by our presence and the work we’re doing to disrupt and prevent knife crime offences.”
Inspector Jones added: “All incidents involving a knife have far-reaching consequences for those involved; not only the perpetrator and the victim, but their families and friends too.
“While there is a lower rate of knife crime in Hertfordshire compared to other parts of the country, collaborative working and early intervention is vital in helping us achieve our objective of disrupting and reducing knife-related incidents.”
During the operation the team carried out a dozen stop-and-searches, which led to a small amount of cannabis being seized, and one arrest was made for weapons offences. You can view a video reel of the event on our TikTok account (opens in new window).
Inspector Jones continued: “While we are supporting the national Operation Sceptre campaign, it’s important to note that we are working all year round to educate and divert those young people who we identify as needing support to remain on a positive path.
“Our Youth Violent Crime PCSOs deliver Peace Day workshops to primary and secondary school students across Watford, Three Rivers and Hertsmere throughout the academic year. More information can be found on our website (opens in a new window).
“I hope it’s reassuring to the public that we have made knife-related arrests in recent weeks, one of which was thanks to plain-clothes officer working closely with the town’s CCTV operator team.
“On Saturday 14 October, covert officers were patrolling the town centre when they observed a teenage male acting suspiciously. They asked him to stop and carried out a search under Section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act.
“They recovered a quantity of cannabis and a knife, before arresting the 14 year old male on suspicion of drug and weapon offences. He is currently on conditional bail.
“In a separate incident, a 57 year old man from Watford has been charged with possession of a knife in a public place and is due to appear at St Albans Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 21 November.”
If you have a knife in your possession that you do not want, or should not have, it can be surrendered anonymously at Watford Police Station without fear of arrest during the Operation Sceptre amnesty week, which ends tomorrow (Sunday 19 November).
Fearless (opens in new window) is a safe online space where young people can share information about crime 100% anonymously, if they don’t feel comfortable speaking directly to police. They can also access non-judgmental information and advice on a range of crime types.