Officers in Cambridgeshire will be joining others across the country next week in an operation to tackle a rise in knife crime.

The week-long operation, aimed at taking weapons off the streets and tackling associated offending, includes a ‘knife surrender’ where members of the public can hand in knives without fear of prosecution.

Offences involving possession of a knife in Cambridgeshire rose by 10 per cent in 2019/20 compared to figures from the previous year. However, the figure remains below the national average and is in line with a rise in offences across the country.

Inspector Matt Snow said: “Our message next week is clear; please make use of the knife surrender bins next week – you could save a life.

“Knives ruin lives and it’s important we are doing all we can to tackle the issue.

“This amnesty provides us with an excellent opportunity to join with colleagues at other forces across the country to get knives off the streets.”

From Monday (23 March) knives can be handed into police stations in Wisbech, St Neots, Parkside, March, Histon, Cambourne, Sawston and Thorpe Wood.

If members of the public wish to surrender knives outside of normal enquiry office opening times, they are urged to use the yellow phones located outside to enquire if an officer is available to assist them.

Inspector Snow added: “When it comes to knife crime we focus on education as well as prosecution. It’s important that we talk to young people about the dangers of carrying knives and the potentially devastating consequences.

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“I’d urge the family and friends of people who carry knives to encourage them to make use of the knife surrender. Even if you feel the person would never actually use the weapon, by getting rid of it you completely eliminate that risk and you could be preventing them from being prosecuted.

“If people don’t make use of the knife surrender and they are found to be carrying a knife in public, they could face a large fine and further prosecution by the courts.

“Remember if knives aren’t taken out in public they can’t be used.”

It is illegal to:

- Sell a knife of any kind to anyone under 18 years old

- Carry a knife in public without good reason - unless it’s a knife with a folding blade three inches long (7.62 cm) or less, eg a Swiss Army knife

- Carry, buy or sell any type of banned knife

- Use any knife in a threatening way (even a legal knife, such as a Swiss Army knife)

The maximum penalty for an adult carrying a knife is four years in prison and a fine of £5,000.

Anyone who knows someone who carries a knife or weapon can report it anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visiting https://crimestoppers-uk.org/.

More information on knife crime is available on the force website at www.cambs.police.uk/knifecrime