A national initiative to curb knife crime, known as Operation Sceptre, starts this week in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Beginning on May 13 and running through until May 19, this co-ordinated effort, headed by the National Police Chief’s Council, occurs biannually and concentrates on promoting awareness of knife crime while enhancing law enforcement operations to detect, prevent and reduce it.

The Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Constabulary (HIOWC) are upping their efforts to tackle knife crime this week.

They will be collaborating closely with the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Violence Reduction Unit, public health departments, local authorities, youth workers, and charities with an aim to shield communities and particularly young individuals from the menace of knife crime.

During this week, people are being encouraged to relinquish any knives or bladed objects which may be used as weapons at surrender bins placed around Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

The efforts are aligned with the ongoing wider work of the HIOW Violence Reduction Unit, which focuses on educating young individuals and spreading awareness about the perils of knife crime.

Throughout the week, officers will undertake various activities including targeted operations, public engagement and educational initiatives to persuade young people about the benefits of not carrying knives, thus steering them away from harm.

Chief superintendent, Clare Jenkins, lead for Serious Violence in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Constabulary, said: "It’s important that our communities are aware that although we have weeks of actions to tackle knife crime, it is a year round initiative.

"As a force and with the Violence Reduction Partnership, we are consistently undertaking significant work to reduce and disrupt serious violence in our towns and cities.

"Seizing knives and arresting high-harm offenders is our priority but it creates a perception that it is the solution, rather than part of a wide-reaching, holistic approach to knife crime.

"Working with partners is key in our work to tackle knife crime, policing cannot do this alone."

Support for those affected by knife crime is available through the charity, Barnardos, and through contacting the local neighbourhood team via phone at the non-emergency number, 101.

Anonymous reports can be made to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111.