TWENTY-SIX people have been arrested and as many knives have been seized in a crackdown on increasing knife crime in the county.

As part of Operation Sceptre - the national campaign to reduce knife crime in communities - Cheshire Police have stepped up efforts to take bladed weapons off the streets.

While Cheshire has one of the lowest knife crime rates in the country, there has been a 13 per cent increase over the past year.

During the latest week of action, 721 weapons were also collected via 56 surrender bins across the county, while more than 50 knife sweeps were carried out, with five recovered.

Ten warrants were issued in relation to knife crime, 10 properties were searched leading to three knife-related arrests and almost 200 people were stopped and searched. 

Throughout the week officers and PCSOs were determined to identify and pursue suspected knife crime offenders, take dangerous weapons off the streets and educate people about the risks of carrying bladed weapons.

Winsford Guardian: Knives surrendered across Holmes Chapel and MiddlewichKnives surrendered across Holmes Chapel and Middlewich

The force also communicated with 72 schools regarding important knife crime messages for pupils, including input from a trauma surgeon and live performances by Perception Theatre of CUT - a production that tackles knife crime and youth violence.

Superintendent Sarah Heath, the knife crime lead for Cheshire Police, said: “Nationally, knife crime is a growing problem and the week-long Operation Sceptre campaign is an initiative that the force is always keen to support.

“However, knife crime is an issue that the force tackles throughout the year, not just during weeks of action, with officers working day and night to protect our communities.

“At Cheshire Police, we have an ongoing structured prepare, protect, pursue and prevent approach to tackling knife crime that involves various partner agencies, including local authorities, education providers, health authorities, third sector organisations, youth representatives and community groups.

“We work together to achieve long-term change by educating young people about the dangers and futility of carrying weapons.

“We are proud of the fact that Cheshire has one of the lowest rates of knife crime in the country, but we are aware that there has been a 13 per cent increase in knife crime related incidents in Cheshire over the past 12 months.

Winsford Guardian: Knives from a surrender bin in WarringtonKnives from a surrender bin in Warrington

“When people carry knives, it is only a matter of time before someone suffers life-changing injuries or is killed, and if you carry a knife then you are much more likely to be involved in a knife crime.

“As all the statistics show, carrying a knife doesn’t make you safer.

“We make sure they know that carrying a knife, even if they have no intention of using it, is a crime and can increase the likelihood of suffering an injury and having a criminal record – anyone found carrying a knife in public, without a reasonable excuse, faces a prison sentence.

“We also steer them away from criminality and offer them attractive alternative ways to spend their time.

“Our goal is to achieve weapons-free streets throughout the county and we endeavour – through education, awareness and action – to make Cheshire an area where no-one carries a knife, or feels that there is a reason to do so.

“However, the police cannot achieve this goal on our own. Knife crime is a societal problem that cannot be solved without the support of society as a whole.

“If you have any information regarding knife crimes, or those who carry weapons, please let us know.

“If you know someone who carries a knife, reporting it to the police could be enough to save a life.”

To report any type of crime involving weapons, call Cheshire Police on 101, or 999 in an emergency.

Anyone who knows someone that carries a knife can report it to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/forms/give-information-anonymously