Hundreds of dangerous weapons have been taken off the streets of Sussex during a dedicated week of action to tackle knife crime.
Police forces across the country took part in Operation Sceptre – a national campaign of education and enforcement aimed at tackling knife crime and serious violence – from November 15 to November 21.
In Sussex, officers seized 496 weapons – 145 in West Sussex, 96 in Brighton and Hove, and 255 in East Sussex – through a combination of amnesty bins, weapon sweeps and stop searches.
Police conducted 195 stop searches and made 41 arrests during the week of action, as well as engaging with more than 3,000 people on the dangers and consequences of knife crime.
Chief Inspector Simon Yates said: “Our intensive week of action to tackle knife crime and serious violence yielded fantastic results, with hundreds of dangerous weapons seized and multiple people arrested. This was through a combination of proactive patrols, warrants, amnesty bins, stop searches and weapon sweeps.
“As well as the enforcement, we also engaged with hundreds of people at schools, community events and via our knife crime engagement van, highlighting the dangers and consequences of carrying and using a knife.
“This was a real team effort bringing together dedicated officers from across the force including the Roads Policing Unit, Specialist Enforcement Unit, Tactical Enforcement Unit, Neighbourhood Policing Teams, Neighbourhood Enforcement Teams, dogs unit and investigations.
“Our work to tackle knife crime doesn’t stop once the week of action ends; we will continue to proactively tackle offenders and use initiatives to help prevent serious violence and keep our communities safe.”
In West Sussex, the operation saw officers seize quantities of drugs as well as knives, including a block of heroin in Worthing with an estimated value of £6,000.
Other seizures include a knife from a 16-year-old boy by officers patrolling Littlehampton railway station, and a knife from a man in Southwick who was threatening to harm himself. He was safeguarded and referred to support agencies as a result of the intervention.
Test purchases were also carried out at 22 businesses, all of which passed.
In Brighton and Hove, arrests were made for various offences including possession of an offensive weapon, failure to attend court, dealing Class A drugs, robbery and threats to kill.
Three people were also arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft after officers from the Specialist Enforcement Unit recovered three stolen vehicles.
Police also carried out a joint operation with British Transport Police and Govia Thameslink Railway to install knife arches at Brighton railway station. More than 3,600 people passed through the arches and four knives were seized as a result.
n East Sussex, two arrests were made for intent to supply Class A drugs after 50 wraps of crack cocaine and heroin were recovered in Eastbourne.
Officers on patrol in Hastings arrested a 16-year-old boy after recovering a catapult during a stop check, and a number of weapons were also seized from an address in the town following a warrant.
A 17-year-old boy was arrested and charged with possession of a bladed article and assaulting an emergency worker following reports of a person with a knife at Ravenside Retail Park in Bexhill. The boy was remanded into the care of the local authority.
School and college inputs also led to more than 1,000 children and young people receiving educational visits from neighbourhood youth officers.
Ch Insp Yates added: “Our message is simple: carrying a knife does not make you safer. It puts you at increased risk of harm and you could end up with a criminal record if you’re found in possession of a weapon.
“There is help out there for those who do not feel safe, and we always have amnesty bins in police stations where you can drop off blades so they can be safely disposed of.”