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No let-up in the fight against knife crime

Last week, Operation Sceptre took place across Dorset, an intensive week of action focused on tackling knife crime. While in Dorset we have the second lowest rate of knife crime across England and Wales, I want to reassure you that leaves no room for complacency. I remain committed to ensuring people are protected on our streets in a bid to prevent the devastating consequences of knife crime.

As part of the intensification of action last week, Dorset Police focused important messaging towards parents and carers around the online sales of knives. This included questions around what parcels were being delivered to houses and what children were looking at online. Our officers also conducted high visibility patrols, equipped with the new knife wands I have funded. These wands do not replace the requirement for a physical search but are used as a screening device available for officers already conducting a lawful and justified physical search of a person following their arrest. I am also pleased that a portable knife arch I have funded is now available to officers. These enforcement methods, along with knife surrender bins placed at police stations in Weymouth, Bournemouth, and Poole, are just a small part of our ongoing work to keep Dorset’s streets safe.

Another important aspect of my commitment to driving down knife crime in Dorset focuses on education for young people. Last week, our Safer Schools and Communities team intensified their regular schedule of visits to schools across the county, delivering the Firearms and Knife Education (FAKE) input to students. I was pleased to see one of these sessions in action at Oak Academy on Friday. The officer’s message to the audience was clear: carrying a weapon puts you in more danger of serious injury or worse. The powerful interactive talk which included real life examples, videos and interactive engagement, had positive reviews from the most important people in the room – the students. These impressive young people at the school asked insightful questions, remaining engaged throughout the hour-long presentation. I was delighted to hear their responses to the input which ranged from effective to thought-provoking. I have repeatedly said how crucial education is in our fight against knife crime. Preventing our young people from carrying knives and weapons is pivotal to this battle. If this education helps to change the path of just one person or gives another the confidence to talk about concerns they may have, it will have succeeded.

What is clear from the range of engagements and discussions I had last week, is that tackling knife crime isn’t just the responsibility of the police. I am proud of our strong communities in Dorset, and it is down to all of us – from local authorities, partners, charities, and individuals – to do the right thing to drive down this offence. That is why I am determined to continue in my campaign for a Violence Reduction Unit in the county. I truly believe that to keep Dorset a safe place, and ensure it remains so for the next generations, this is the way forward. We owe it to the young people of Dorset.

David Sidwick

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner

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