Operation Sceptre: Measures put in place to tackle knife crime in Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester Police has launched an operation this week in an attempt to tackle increasing knife crime in the area.

Operation Sceptre, a national week of intensification to address knife crime, kickstarted in Greater Manchester on Monday and has already seen officers undertake a range of operational activities to target offenders.

Knife-detecting arches have been set up at Edge Lane tram stop in Droylsden where a 13-year-old boy was stabbed in the chest last year.

Superintendent Caroline Hemingway, GMP’s knife crime lead, said: “We are committed to proactively targeting knife crime hotspots within the community using stop search – where appropriate, weapons sweeps, knife arches, and covert and overt policing deployments, and investigative work to target those involved with knife crime.”

Operation Sceptre links closely with GMP’s longer-term initiatives aimed at reducing knife crime and serious youth violence – such as operations Sycamore, Concept and Forever Amnesty.

These initiatives have seen over 10,000 weapons seized across Greater Manchester since 2019.

StreetDoctors, a national charity that teaches young people emergency first aid, are also helping to tackle knife crime in and around Manchester. The charity, founded in 2008, has trained over 22,000 young people in critical lifesaving skills since 2013, over 2,000 of these were in 2021. StreetDoctors Manchester was founded in 2011.

StreetDoctors Manchester team

They said: “Knife crime has devastating impacts on young people, their friends, families, and wider communities too, as a result of the ripple effect of the trauma of experiencing violence.

“That’s why Operation Sceptre is a vital part of the response, in particular its emphasis on partnership working to tackle the systemic causes of street violence, as well as its traumatic impacts. Tackling knife crime is a child protection as well as an enforcement issue, as so many young people are caught up in exploitation in relation to violence. So its really important that the Manchester police force continue to act on this, alongside their partners.

“StreetDoctors works with young people affected by violence in Manchester and across the UK, training them in how to save the life of someone who has been stabbed or knocked out and enabling them to better understand the consequences of violence.

“Our Manchester based young healthcare volunteers deliver this vital training through a network of local youth partners, including the police, enabling us to work directly with young people to empower them to become a key part of the solution to reducing violence”.

The StreetDoctors Impact report for 2021 has revealed that after attending StreetDoctors training:

  • 96% of young people understand the consequences of violence
  • 96% of young people know what to do if someone is knocked out or unconscious
  • 95% of young people know what to do if someone is bleeding
  • 89% of young people would be willing and able to act if first aid is needed.

Greater Manchester’s Deputy Mayor for policing, crime criminal justice and fire, Bev Hughes, said: “We all have a part to play in preventing knife crime. The consequences are far-reaching and don’t just affect those that are directly involved in an incident.

“Through our Violence Reduction Unit, the police, local authorities, youth services, health, education and schools, as well as other criminal justice partners, continue to work together to embed a community-led approach to prevention and enforcement, with community-led programmes now live in seven boroughs.” 

Operation Sceptre closely follows the death of 19-year-old Luke O’Connor, who died last month in the student area of Fallowfield after being stabbed.

The teenager was walking home from a party when he was attacked.

Superintendent Hemingway said: “I would like to urge those who even think about carrying a knife to take a moment and realise how many people may be affected by your actions.

“You won’t only be hurting someone else – you’ll also be hurting yourself as my officers are actively targeting those involved in knife crime and will use all manners at their disposal to bring you to justice.”

GMP are urging people to surrender weapons if they are in possession of them at one of the 13 Forever Amnesty bins located across Greater Manchester. You can find the location of your nearest bin here.

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