A CRACKDOWN on knife crime across Cheshire – aided by Warrington Wolves – has removed 450 knives from the streets.

Operation Sceptre, a week-long campaign intensifying efforts in tackling knife crime, ran from May 13 to 19.

During the week of action, officers from multiple specialist departments from across Cheshire Police worked in partnership with residents, community groups and partner organisations in an effort to reduce the impact of knife crime across the county.

Cheshire is the ninth lowest police force for knife crime incidents in England and Wales, but despite this, it has seen a 5.9 per cent increase in knife-related offences in the 12 months to March 2024 compared to the previous year.

The force says it remains determined to reduce the number of knives carried, and efforts in tackling knife crime have been intensified through enforcement and engagement initiatives.

Last week, Cheshire Police announced that it had launched an ongoing partnership with Warrington Wolves, delivering a message of anti-violence and aggression.

Since the start of the week, police officers from Warrington have been out across the town with members of the squad, engaging with the community and visiting Warrington’s young people at schools, colleges and youth organisations.

The rugby club also agreed to host a knife surrender event at Halliwell Jones Stadium, as well as joining officers for several important safety talks delivered at Warrington Youth Zone.

Superintendent Adam Ross, force area commander for Warrington, said: "This campaign has been a great opportunity to showcase the work our officers put in on a daily basis to keep our streets safe from knife crime.

“Operation Sceptre also highlights all the engagement we deliver to various community groups and the work we do with our partner organisations.

“This week of action has also been particularly special for us as it marks the start of a long-running collaboration between the force and the team at Warrington Wolves.

“The club has already helped us spread the message that no one needs to carry a knife in order to feel safe or protected on our streets.

“Moving forward, our work with Wolves will incorporate other aspects of community engagement and policing, and it will allow us to strengthen our relationship with the community throughout Warrington, particularly with the younger generation.

“We want everyone to feel that they can come to the police with any issues, not just knife crime, so we can take immediate action and keep them safe.”

Superintendent Andy Blizard, Cheshire Police’s knife crime lead, added: “We are very proud of the fact that knife crime in our county remains relatively low.

“However, in the past 12 months we have seen an increase in knife-related offences compared to the previous year.

“This increase is partially the result of our officers' dedicated and proactive approach toward stop and search.

“Last week alone we intensified our stop search efforts, with our officers conducting over 140 stop searches, meaning more people are being arrested for possessing bladed weapons.

“Over the course of Operation Sceptre week, we conducted 70 weapons sweeps in parks, towns and residential areas across Cheshire, and saw more than 450 knives surrendered to police through knife surrender bins that were placed across the county.

“We have also seen eight arrests directly related to Operation Sceptre activity.

“These great results are a testament to the excellent proactive police work put in by our dedicated officers and has led to a sizable number of lethal weapons being removed from Cheshire's streets.

“Knife crime is not an issue police can tackle on their own, which is why engagement between police, schools, youth organisations, community groups and businesses alike is incredibly important when it comes to pushing for a wider societal change."

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

Anyone who knows someone that carries a knife can report it to Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111 or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org