Police carry out school initiatives in Tower Hamlets to curb knife crime during the summer holidays

Weapons seized in Operation Sceptre last month. Picture: MET POLICE

Weapons seized in Operation Sceptre last month. Picture: MET POLICE - Credit: Archant

Police are running activities before schools break up at the end of term to deter youngsters from carrying knives during the summer holidays.

They are carrying out ‘stop and search’ at stations and transport hubs at the end of the school day.

Schools officers are also making sure pupils are aware of the dangers of carrying a knife.

‘Operation Sceptre’, the Met’s initiative which targets knife crime, is organising weapon sweeps and confiscating blades as well as targeting repeat young offenders.

“The summer school holiday can see a rise in knife offences,” Acting Det Chief Supt Sean Yates said. “So we’re making sure we take action to prevent offences by removing knives and other weapons before any harm is caused.

“The work of our schools officers and various projects and conferences are helping to achieve this.”

The Met Police Commissioner recently joined young people at a community round table discussion to find out why some carry knives and how they can reduce knife crime.

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Enforcement could only go “so far”, it was pointed out. What was needed was “changing hearts and minds” in attitudes and behaviour.

The operation involves the Met, City and Transport police forces. Supt William Duffy from the City Police, which covers Aldgate and Bishopsgate, said: “Criminals don’t respect the invisible borders that separate different policing areas—so we are determined to deal with tackling knife crime wherever it’s found.”

Supt Jenny Gilmer, from British Transport Police, said: “There will be an increase in police activity around transport hubs in the coming months with the message that carrying a knife is never acceptable.”

Students from the Met’s film school have made a short film about the dangers of knife crime, taking a simple kitchen utensil that can “morph into a weapon to cause harm”. The film is aimed at primary schools, with its open ending making a talking point for pupils about knife crime issues.

The Met’s ‘Primary School Challenge’ also has 132 schools competing to test their knowledge on knife crime, drugs, social media and criminal responsibility. A final quiz-style competition is planned in Walthamstow with 128 children taking part.