Staffordshire Police Relaunches Ditch the Blade Campaign
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We have once again been calling on anyone carrying a knife to #DitchTheBlade.
Running from Monday 13 November until Sunday 26 November, and in conjunction with the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Violence Reduction Alliance, the aim of the campaign has been to reinforce that it is not normal for anyone to carry a knife.
Tackling knife crime remains one of our key priorities under the multi-agency serious violence strategy, and we work with partners to deliver operational and educational work to encourage people to go knife free.
We are urging all knife carriers to anonymously deposit their blade into their nearest Knife Bank. We now have an interactive map on our website, which shows the location of every Bank across the country. We are also suggesting household recycling centres/tips as an alternative knife surrender point.
These have proven to be effective in reducing the number of knives on the streets. At the end of the operational week, we recovered 980 knives from 12 surrender points.
During this same period, we made three arrests and recovered five knives during weapons sweeps in public places and two through stop and search.
Forming part of our campaign is the Ditch the Blade podcast, featuring three guests: • Mark Hardern from the Staffordshire Police Violence Reduction Team • Gemma Mander, representing Catch 22, a social business commissioned by the Staffordshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner • Joy Molloy of the Stoke-on-Trent Youth Offending Service Click this link to listen to the podcast: Ditching The Blade. You can also find it on all major streaming platforms.
We have also been using Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok to reach out to young people about the dangers of carrying a knife, and how they can surrender one safely. With 225,000 reaches across all platforms at the time of writing, our content has been viewed by approximately one-quarter of the county of Staffordshire. This includes 2,200 people watching content from our paid Snapchat campaign in full, and just under 1,000 people doing so on TikTok. We have also reached another 20,000 locally on our Smart Alert system, for those not on social media.
Our reach has extended into local communities and schools. 580 schools in Staffordshire have received parent/carer letters to encourage and support conversations with their children about the seriousness and dangers of carrying a knife. In addition, all PSHE school leads have approved knife education resources to use, supported by trained Police Community Support Officers.
Another key part of the campaign is the Responsible Retailer Guide (Retailers guide to storing, displaying and selling knives). This contains practical guidance aimed at retailers who sell knives and other bladed items, in order to help them to comply with the law and play their part in reducing the harm caused to our communities by knife crime.
Chief Inspector Robert Hessell, the force's knife crime lead, said: "Tackling knife crime is a national issue across all society and one which the Police cannot just arrest their way out of alone.
"It requires a multi-partnership approach, in which we work collectively through Violence Reduction Alliances, education, charities, local authorities and retail.
"Our #DitchtheBlade initiative has proven effective in bringing all of those groups together to provide advice and guidance, as well as to highlight the lived experiences of those directly impacted by knife crime.
"Educating and influencing young people, in particular, about the dangers of knife crime is a key strand of this work.
"That is how we effect long-lasting change for future generations."
If anybody is concerned about someone carrying a knife, this can be reported to the Police via 101 or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.