Staffordshire Police is appealing for people to 'Bin the Blade' with a four-week knife surrender, starting today.
The surrender, which is being led by Staffordshire Police, alongside Stoke-on-Trent City Counciland local authorities across Staffordshire, is in response to a national increase of offences involving knives and blades. This is reflected in Staffordshire with a 26% increase in the use of knives and bladed weapons in all crimes in the 12 months from April 2015 and March 2016 compared to the previous 12 months. Nationally there have been similar increases.
It's been a decade since the last knife surrender in Staffordshire, where the force asks members of the public to surrender unlawfully held or unwanted knives and bladed weapons to help prevent them falling into the wrong hands.
The four-week surrender, will see safe and secure knife bins available at 18 locations across the county.
During this period, those surrendering knives will not face prosecution for carrying them and they can remain anonymous. However, the force will maintain its zero-tolerance approach which will continue during the surrender - leniency will not be shown to anyone stopped by the police and found to be in possession of a knife. They will be arrested as normal.
Chief Superintendent Martin Evans, head of local policing for Staffordshire Police, said: "The harm that knife crime causes to our communities in Staffordshire as a whole, and the devastation it can cause to families affected by it, is something the force is determined to deal with. Every weapon taken out of circulation is one fewer that can end up in the wrong hands. These bins will form just one element of our approach to tackling knife crime."
"I am sure this approach, together with our efforts, and those of our partners, to educate people about the dangers of carrying these lethal weapons will have positive results.
"Play your part in reducing knife crime by reporting people who you know or suspect may be carrying a weapon illegally. Call your local police on 101, or dial 999 if a crime is in progress or a life is in danger. If you can't talk to police, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111 and give information about crime anonymously."
Councillor Randy Conteh, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for housing, communities and safer city, said: "The city council fully supports this campaign, and I urge people to come forward to 'bin their blades'. Knife crime will not be tolerated in our city and we work closely with the police and other partners to do all we can to make our streets and communities as safe as possible. This campaign very much has safety as its key priority and the more blades that are surrendered the better."
Staffordshire County Councillor Gill Heath, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: "We are working together with the police and variety of different organisations to help people understand the dangers of carrying knives and bladed weapons. The increase in incidents is a worrying trend, so the more we can do to educate people and encourage them to surrender their knives, the more chance we have of preventing knife crime in future."
The secure bins have been provided free of charge by the in Oswestry, as part of their initiative. The family-run company is creating a national sculpture, the 'Knife Angel', as a symbol against violence and aggression.
Ben Knowles, of the , said: "We are working with Staffordshire Police on implementing their amnesty at the end of June.
"Our campaign in creating the National Monument against Violence and Aggression sees us working with police forces, families, victims and community groups in spreading awareness on the issues of knife crime and violence.
"Our main campaign objectives are to remove 100,000 knives off the streets of the UK and gain the support of all 43 police forces."
Find all 18 of our locations here Our Locations.