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[Officers during weapon sweep with specialist search team and community safety group in Barnet]
[Officers during weapon sweep with specialist search team and community safety group in Barnet]

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Op Sceptre: more than 790 arrests following Met crackdown on violent crime

Met crackdown on violent crime leads to more than 790 arrests and 280 knives taken off the streets in just one week.

The Metropolitan Police Service ramped up activity to target knife crime as part of the national operation, ‘Op Sceptre’.

Officers across the Met used a number of different tactics, including increased patrols in violence hotspots; warrants to target those known to carry knives; and weapons sweeps in areas known for discarded knives. In one instance, local officers in Barnet and a specialist search team were joined by a mother who lost her son to knife crime and a community safety group on a community weapon sweep where several hidden weapons were found.

Working closely with the British Transport Police, knife arches were used at transport hubs to deter people from carrying weapons and drugs on trains and tubes. Met Special Constables and Police Cadets volunteered in their own time to assist officers in the operation, including visiting businesses to educate them and ensure they were not – and do not in the future - sell knives irresponsibly.

We know that early intervention is key to curbing violence, so crucially there was also a focus on education, diversion and prevention. Officers engaged with young people and community members through school presentations and community meetings. Officers in north-west London, for example, arranged for a number of local young people to visit the Old Bailey Court where they listened to presentations about the impact of knife crime. They heard from a trauma surgeon who described the medical aftermath of stabbings; an ex-offender; as well as a criminal barrister.

In total the operation, which ran from Monday, 16 May to Sunday, 22 May, resulted in:

  • 288 knives recovered;
  • 792 arrests;
  • 51 warrants;
  • 154 community meetings and educational events, engaging with 5,391 individuals;
  • 203 school presentations and engagements, involving 15,015 young people;
  • 210 retailer visits;
  • 1,578 weapon sweeps.

The operation was coordinated by the Met’s Violent Crime Taskforce (VCTF), who manage all London-wide operations focussed on tackling violent crime.

Chief Inspector Rob Ranstead, who led the operation, said: “Our mission is to bear down on violence and make communities safer across London – it’s our priority.

“Operation Sceptre is an intensification of the work we already do every single day and officers will not stop doing everything they can to target those carrying weapons on our streets.

“Policing alone can’t solve violent crime and I am grateful to all those partners and community members who worked alongside us during this activity and joined our efforts.”

+ We all have a part to play in tackling violent crime. It can be as simple as giving information about an incident or those who carry a weapon. Any information you give to the independent charity Crimestoppers can make a difference in reducing knife crime and the harm it causes to families. Fill in their quick online form or call 0800 555 111 – 100% anonymously. It could save a life.

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