Schools and habitual knife carriers will be the focus during Phase Eight of Operation Sceptre, the Metropolitan Police Service's latest crackdown on knife crime.
This week will see dedicated Safer Schools Officers working directly with young people as a way of diverting them from knife crime. Officers will also be carrying out intense weapon sweeps and intelligence-led policing operations to confiscate knives and tackle those wanted in connection with knife-related offences and violent crime.
The Met continues to receive strong support from communities across London who want to work together to end these crimes.
Although this work goes on all year round, Operation Sceptre gives complete focus to knife crime, especially as this type of crime is expected to see a seasonal rise in the summer months.
Over 900 activities are planned throughout London to highlight the dangers and the potentially devastating consequences of carrying a knife.
In the last 12 months, officers have been delivering educational packages and have so far reached more than 14,000 young people across London. The delivery of these packages aims to make youngsters think about the decision they make and the possible consequences of their action, as well as diverting them away from joining gangs which could ultimately result in a life of crime.
Detective Chief Superintendent Michael Gallagher, the Met's 'Silver lead' for knife crime, said: "This operation carries a positive and powerful message: this is about all of us addressing a problem that often has tragic consequences. This behaviour is damaging our communities; there is no excuse, people are better than this and our communities are better than this.
"I would urge anyone who is concerned for someone involved in knife crime, to visit our website at www.met.police.uk/StopKnifeCrime
"Across London there are number of excellent diversionary programmes that are bespoke to the needs of Londoners. This is clearly a safeguarding issue for the people who do, and would, carry knives and victims of knife crime. A collaborative and cohesive approach between statutory agencies, non-governmental organisations and communities is the only solution to achieving a long term reduction in this type of offence, underpinned by a strong academic evidence base and effective police enforcement."
Danny Coyle, Headteacher at Newman Catholic College in Harlesden, said: "I have been head teacher for the past four years and during this time our relationship with the MPS has become part of our whole approach to safeguarding. To that end we have safeguarding posters around the school which identify our lead safeguarding staff. In the team you will also find MPS officers. Young people with any safeguarding issues can approach these highly qualified and experienced adults.
"Our relationship with the police works on a variety of levels. Police come into the school to do assemblies on issues such as drug awareness, cyber-crime, knife safety awareness, keeping safe on the streets, plus issues such as Prevent and an awareness of any gang problems. We also conduct frequent safety arches which are well received by pupils, teachers and parents alike. These are conducted in an atmosphere of good humour and have the additional benefit of developing positive relationships with the police and young people.
"We are proud to have an outstanding relationship with the police. The school and the local environment are a far better place because of our relationship with the police and in particular out dedicated Safer Schools Officer. Experience has taught us that many problems are solved in advance because of our Safer Schools Officer. This enables interventions to take place and diversion programmes such as the Police Cadets run here very successfully.
"We recently received a very good Ofsted report and were commended for the "superb relationship between staff and pupils". In our view our relationship with the police has helped us receive such positive comments."
Knife bins can also be found throughout London as part of the Met's effort to take knives off the streets.
During previous weeks of action, over 5,791 weapon sweeps have been conducted, more than 1,435 weapons have been recovered and removed from the streets of London, hundreds of shops have been visited with Trading Standards to test whether knives are being sold to those under 18, and over 2,294 people have been arrested - including 473 for possessing a knife or offensive weapon.
The Met has recently been at the forefront of influencing changes in legislation, with the amendment to the Criminal Justice Act 1988 banning the sale, manufacture, rental or importation of knives often referred to as "zombie knives". This ban was supported by the change to sentencing laws in relation to minimum custodial sentences for knife carrying repeat offenders.
A map showing the location of knife bins across London is available on our website at: www.met.police.uk/StopKnifeCrime
If you have information about anyone carrying or using knives please contact your local police via 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
For news updates and Sceptre Eight activities follow Borough police Twitter feeds and @metpoliceuk and #stopknifecrime.