HAMPSHIRE Constabulary is among the forces taking part in a nationwide week of action to tackle knife crime.

Officers taking part in Operation Sceptre which began yesterday, will target habitual knife carriers as well as educating children, young people and parents about the risks of carrying a knife.

They will also highlight work with schools and retailers to reduce knife crime and keep people safe.

A Hampshire police spokesman said: "Throughout the coronavirus pandemic reducing knife crime has remained a top priority for policing nationally.

Daily Echo:

"Operation Sceptre brings together police forces in a coordinated national effort to tackle serious violence and will see forces build upon already existing activity that involves crucial engagement and prevention work.

"Early intervention to steer young people away from knife crime and putting in place measures to tackle the root causes remains vital.

"We continue to work closely with retailers, including those who operate online and with Trading Standards to come up with solutions to ensure weapons are not falling into the wrong hands."

Chief Inspector John Halfacre is Hampshire Constabulary's lead for knife crime.

He said: "Reducing knife crime requires a multi-agency response across all communities, the public, private and charity sectors in order to deliver lasting long-term change.

"Operation Sceptre will see both an increase in operational policing activity as well as preventative work with schools and clubs to deliver educational workshops to show young people why carrying a knife is never the right choice.

"Across the country there is a structured, overarching approach to tackling knife crime that involves crucial engagement and prevention work. This work is carried out together with partner agencies including Violence Reduction Units and communities.

Daily Echo:

"Hampshire is a safe place to live, and we’re committed to do our best to ensure we continue to tackle and reduce violence as a priority.

"We are aware some young people carry a knife because of the increasing acceptance among their peers. For others they may carry a knife, simply because they are afraid.

"Trying to reach these individuals, and change their mind-set, is a complex task and requires the efforts of not just the police, but local schools, charities, friends and families, and prominent members of the community.

"We must ensure that young people know that carrying a knife, even if they have no intention of using it, is a crime and can increase the likelihood of suffering an injury or facing a criminal record."

Anyone worried about knife crime can call police or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.