The South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) is supporting Operation Sceptre, a national week of police action to tackle knife crime.

The bi-annual operation, which last ran in May, will run from 13th-19th November. An intensification week, Operation Sceptre sees South Yorkshire Police run targeted initiatives and operations to disrupt knife crime, working with key partners across the county.

As well as conducting policing operations, the force will take part in increased community engagement, proactive communications, and the delivery of educational materials on the dangers of carrying knives, and the impact that knife crime has on victims, perpetrators, families, and communities.

The VRU will work alongside South Yorkshire Police as a key partner of the force throughout the operation. This will include community visits and the sharing of key messages on the Unit’s social media channels.

Graham Jones, Head of the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit said: “The South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit recognises the impact that knife crime has, and we are committed to working alongside South Yorkshire Police and other key partners to tackle this issue.

“Alongside our previous support for Operation Sceptre, the Unit runs a yearly grant round. This year, our grant funding focuses on supporting young people, providing positive diversionary activities, role models, and mental health support, to prevent them from becoming involved in violence and criminality.

“In addition to this, the Unit has developed knife crime education guidance for schools, providing information on what constitutes a helpful and positive piece of knife crime education.

“As in previous Operation Sceptre weeks, the VRU will be supporting this national week of police action by working alongside key partners, delivering increased community engagement, and promoting the key messages we are aiming to deliver as part of our shared commitment to tackling knife crime in South Yorkshire.”

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “Knife crime has a devastating impact not only on the immediate victims and their families but also on our communities more broadly. It causes people to feel less safe. This is why tackling it is a key part of my ambition.

“Intensification weeks such as Operation Sceptre form a part of the police effort to disrupt knife crime and associated criminality.

“Alongside the police response, it is important to work across organisations to deliver education in an effort to change social and cultural attitudes which contribute to knife carrying and crime in the first place.

“The VRU does important work in that regard, alongside other key partners.”