London youths urged not to carry knives or join street gangs in Met Police ‘Operation Sceptre’

The indignity of arrest... knife suspect held down on ground while being handcuffed [2008 archive im

The indignity of arrest... knife suspect held down on ground while being handcuffed [2008 archive image] - Credit: MPS

A London-wide campaign has been running in schools and youth centres this week urging youngsters against carrying knives or joining street gangs at night.

The indignity of arrest... knife suspect held down on ground while being handcuffed [2008 archive im

The indignity of arrest... knife suspect held down on ground while being handcuffed [2008 archive image] - Credit: MPS

The programme started on Monday when the Metropolitan Police opened the latest phase in Operation Sceptre, the response to habitual knife carriers and knife crime which runs until Sunday.

Officers from Scotland Yard are holding educational presentations at schools and youth centres aimed at making youngsters think about decisions they make and to divert them away from joining gangs which often lead to a life of crime.

Weapon sweeps are being carried out on the streets as well as ‘stop and search’. Teenagers arrested carrying a weapon or following a street disturbance involving a knife are spoken to while in police custody.

The indignity of arrest... knife suspect held down on ground while being handcuffed [2008 archive im

The indignity of arrest... knife suspect held down on ground while being handcuffed [2008 archive image] - Credit: MPS

“There is no better moment,” Det Chief Supt Southworth said. “We point out when they have spent some time in custody for knife-related offences the significance of the path they are choosing, to reinforce that it is a ‘choice’ they are making.”


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They have given educational talks to more than 14,000 young people across London in the past 12 months alone. A presentation package is now available to every school that has a Safer Schools officer.

The police work with the Milestone Foundation to divert especially school-leavers away from knife crime and into jobs or educational development.

The indignity of arrest... knife suspect held down on ground while being handcuffed [2008 archive im

The indignity of arrest... knife suspect held down on ground while being handcuffed [2008 archive image] - Credit: MPS

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Other schemes are available for teenagers and young people such as the London Gang Exit programme or The Prince’s Trust which runs centres in London including St Paul’s Way in Bow Common, near Poplar.

Some 30 knife bins have also been placed around London by Words 4 Weapons charity to take knives off the streets.

Many sweeps for weapons have already been carried out in the past two years including the East End such as St George’s Gardens in Shadwell and the green at Rounton Road in Bromley-by-Bow where weapons have been uncovered in past operations.

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