Police recently hit the streets of Trafford in a campaign to tackle knife crime.
Operation Sycamore was a week of action coordinated by The Safer Trafford Partnership, which aimed to combat serious violent crime through a multi-agency approach.
Actions involved weapon sweeps and the deployment of knife amnesty bins, which have already proven to be effective with 554 knives deposited across Greater Manchester since February.
GMP Superintendent Caroline Hemingway said: “Police cannot tackle violent crime alone – it requires a joined up public health approach which includes working closely with local authorities and our communities.”
Trafford Council educated young people in both parks and schools to increase awareness of the consequences of getting involved in violent crime.
Trafford Trading Standards also reached out to retailers to ensure the responsible sale of knives with adherence to Challenge25 regulations which require proof of ID when buying a prohibited item.
Young people were the target of this operation because, according to Chief Inspector Nasim: “Knife crime and carrying a knife remains a national issue amongst young people.”
Common reasons young people have given to police for carrying knives include peer pressure, being a victim of robbery or crime, acceptance within some social groups, and adverse childhood experiences.
However, research has shown that those carrying a knife to protect themselves were more likely to be a victim of violent crime.
The operation was publicised by the social media accounts of the police authorities in the Trafford area, with a spot-the-knife string of images showing knives hidden in public places.
GMP Trafford acknowledged in related Facebook posts that knife-crime is a worry for communities across Manchester since knives are being hidden across the region and used for crime.
However Superintendent Hemingway said: “I want to assure residents that Trafford continues to experience low levels of violent crime compared to other areas but we will not be complacent, as any incident is one too many.”
This week of action was a repeat of January’s Operation Sycamore which saw the arrest of 31 people for a variety of offences.
Superintendent Hemingway said: “We were delighted with the results of January’s week of action; it had a real positive impact in the community.”
#OpSycamore is part of the broader efforts of The Greater Manchester Violence Reduction
Unit, which was set up in 2019 to bring together police, local authorities,youth services, and schools to tackle serious violence.
If you have concerns about someone you know or care about who is carrying or hiding a knife, or if you are aware that knives are being concealed in your community, call the Police on 101 or use LiveChat at www.gmp.police.uk.