POTENTIALLY dangerous weapons were taken off the streets during a police crackdown.

Essex Police were part of national initiative Op Sceptre last week to building on the work they do everyday to tackle serious violence.

Amongst the techniques used were searches for hidden weapons, high visibility patrols, intelligence-led stop checks and knife arches at train stations.

There was also knife crime awareness events with charities including Only Cowards Carry to discuss the dangers of carrying weapons with youngsters, while Trading Standards worked with shop owners about the laws related to selling blades.

Over the last four years, Only Cowards Carry has collected 47,715 blades in their amnesty bins across the county. In 2019 4,281 have been handed in.

Assistant Chief Constable Paul Wells said: “We fight knife crime every day and our work during Operation Sceptre was part of our ongoing commitment to tackling violent crime.

“We know some people carry a knife because they think it will keep them safe. But the reality is they are more likely to either use that blade to hurt someone, or it will be used on them.

“Just being found carrying a knife or blade alone could result in a prison term of up to four years.

“I’d ask those people to think about the consequences of carrying a knife, and I’d ask anyone who knows someone who carries a knife to not be afraid to tell us or Crimestoppers.

“The more we can do together as a community to prevent knife crime happening in the first place, the less people there will be whose lives are changed forever by it.”

Shani Jackson, of Only Cowards Carry, said: “Count the Blade was launched after we created a pilot a project called The Knife Amnesty in Clacton, placing a temporary amnesty bin to receive knives and or weapons.

“Due to its great success, Count the Blade was introduced and all districts within Essex have now received a secured robust depositary bin.

“To date 47,715 bladed articles have been safely disposed of in the amnesty bins. This in turn contributes to creating safer communities and helps reduce knife related crimes in the community.

“A kitchen knife is seen by most people as a standard kitchen utensil, others may see it as a potential weapon.

“By discarding knives in the correct manner, we can help decrease the use of knives as weapons.”

For more information about knife crime visit essex.police.uk/knifecrime