Thousands of knives - and 10 guns - handed in during amnesty across Bedfordshire

Officers also met with pupils and retailers as part of the week-long campaign

By Clare Turner
Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 11:30 pm

More than 2,600 knives have been surrendered as part of a county-wide drive to tackle knife crime.

Bedfordshire Police officers carried out weapons sweeps in parks, patrols in hotspot areas, as well as giving talks at schools under the national campaign Operation Spectre.

The 11 weapons bins across the county were emptied prior to the week of action, and officers found 2,457 blades and 10 firearms.

One of the many weapons bins in the county

The bins were emptied again last week and a further 181 blades were recovered.

That's a 17 per cent increase in the number of weapons surrendered compared to the same figures in November 2020, with almost 600 more knives being recovered.

After being reviewed by officers to see if they have been used in any criminal acts, the weapons will then be destroyed.

The police also visited retailers which sell knives - and met with the Bedford Borough Youth Cabinet and the Central Bedfordshire Youth Parliament for a social media takeover.

Bedfordshire Police officers carrying out a weapons sweep

The motivations for carrying a knife can vary, however those who carry a knife are significantly more likely to be a victim of knife crime.

Recorded incidents of serious youth violence fell by 24 per cent in Bedfordshire in the 12 months to April 2021, compared to the same timeframe to April 2019 - though that was largely due to the pandemic.

Detective Chief Inspector Aaron Kiff said: “This week of action against knife crime provided us with an opportunity to dedicate resources from across the force to tackling an important issue and one we know our communities are really concerned about.

“It’s clearly positive that so many knives and weapons were handed in and no longer pose a threat in Bedfordshire. However, the weapons bins are just one aspect of the work taking place across the county and we know that policing cannot do it alone when it comes to tackling issues related to knife crime.

“My big ask from the public is for them to let us know if they suspect someone is carrying a knife, whether this is with the intention of using it or if they’re under the false impression that it will protect them. It won’t; and in fact, they are far more likely to become a victim themselves.”