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

The bi-annual operation, which last ran in May, will run from 14-18 November. Working in partnership with other organisations and communities across the county, South Yorkshire Police will be intensifying its activity to tackle knife crime, as well as increasing education on the impact it has on individuals, families and the wider community.

The VRU is supporting the operation by visiting groups and organisations they work with, including some which aim specifically to tackle knife crime. Visits will take place in all four districts of South Yorkshire, and the Unit will also be supporting the week by sharing key messages on its social media channels.

Graham Jones, Head of the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit said: “The Violence Reduction Unit is committed to tackling knife crime and violence in South Yorkshire, and we recognise that this can only be achieved by working with partners across the county.

“This is reflected in our ongoing work on knife crime education, and the grants we have awarded through our Violence Reduction Fund.

“This supports a number of initiatives taking a preventative approach to addressing knife crime and anti-social behaviour, by providing safe spaces and positive diversionary activities for young people.

“I’m pleased that the VRU is supporting Operation Sceptre as a national week of police action on knife crime. This is another example of the partnership working which is necessary to address this issue in South Yorkshire.”

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner added: “As Police and Crime Commissioner, I recognise how important it is to tackle knife crime.

“This was emphasised by the recent ONS statistics, which showed a 20% year-on-year increase in knife crime in South Yorkshire in the twelve months to June 2022, though we need to bear in mind that knife crimes include carrying a knife or threatening with one or selling one to someone under the age of 18.

“But when there is a stabbing, that is not only potentially devastating for the victim, and will have serious consequences for the offender, it also causes anxiety and distress in communities.

“I want to see in South Yorkshire a greater emphasis on preventing knife incidents in the first place, which is why I encourage work in schools and with voluntary organisations in communities.

“Intensification weeks such as Operation Sceptre provide an opportunity not just for the Police to tackle criminality, but also to focus on preventative measures through education.

“Alongside targeted operations such as this, I have also asked the Police to redouble their broader efforts on knife crime in light of the recent concerning statistics.”