As the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) launches its latest phase of activity to drive down knife crime; it can be revealed that more than 2,700 people have been charged with possessing a knife in the past 12 months.
Since May 2016, a total of 2,709 individuals have been charged with possession of a knife - representing a charge rate of 85 per cent for all arrests for this offence. A further 474 people have received cautions.
Operation Sceptre will run during the week of 19 June, with a focus on enforcement. In response to the recent spike in knife crime offences, the Met has refocused our tactics and are now running Sceptre operations on a monthly basis; with a different theme each time. To date, the team have recovered 29 knives, one electric shock baton, knuckle-dusters, ammonia spray and one firearm.
Op Sceptre tactics will run alongside everyday policing activities to tackle knife crime, this includes neighbourhoods policing, gang enforcement, protecting vulnerable people and continued local partnership work.
Video: The work of the Op Sceptre Taskforce
Last month saw the launch of the Op Sceptre Taskforce - a group of around 100 officers, a mixture of detectives and uniformed police - who are deployed to knife crime hotspots on intelligence-led operations to help protect the public and bring offenders to justice.
The team will be out in force during the week employing a variety of tactics which include intense weapon sweeps, intelligence-led policing operations to confiscate knives and proactive operations to target repeat knife crime offenders; as well as increasing the visibility of police officers.
They also provide intensive support to borough police who will be supporting this operation with similar activities, as well as test purchase operations with Trading Standards. This latest phase will also involve City of London Police and British Transport Police who will be working with MPS colleagues in support of activity across London.
Acting Detective Chief Superintendent, Sean Yates, Silver Lead for Operation Sceptre, said: "The introduction of the taskforce working closely with boroughs allows us to create a more co-ordinated and consistent approach to reducing knife crime by carrying out intense weapon sweeps, intelligence-led stop and search and tackling those offenders who are wanted in connection with knife-related offences and violent crime.
"This type of activity is essential and has a real impact; however it will only ever be part of the solution. We are starting to see a mobilisation from the community against knife crime; and we need this to continue.
"We need to change attitudes to carrying knives and are encouraging key people in positions of influence to drive this messaging forward. It is those individuals who will have the biggest impact on getting the message out there to young people that it is not acceptable to carry a knife.
"In the meantime we will continue our robust enforcement efforts to remove more knives from the streets and arrest offenders. We would urge anyone who is concerned for someone involved in knife crime, to visit our website at www.met.police.uk/StopKnifeCrime."
Superintendent William Duffy from the City of London Police said: "We are proud to be supporting Operation Sceptre and this pan-London approach to tackling knife crime.
"Throughout the week specialist teams of officers from the City of London Police will be deployed to aide our colleagues from the Metropolitan Police and help with a range of enforcement activities.
"While of course, we police the Square Mile and we are committed to making the City as safe as possible, the invisible borders that separate different policing areas don't mean anything to criminals.
"Knife crime brings devastation to families and communities; we will continue to work with our colleagues from the Metropolitan Police and the British Transport Police to remove knives from our streets."
Knife bins can also be found throughout London as part of the Met's effort to take knives off the streets. A map showing their locations 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 activities follow Borough police Twitter feeds and @metpoliceuk and #StopKnifeCrime.