Q. Why are you launching a knife crime campaign?
One knife crime incident is one too many and the aim of the campaign is to drive home the message of the devastating consequences knife crime can have and what could happen if you are caught carrying a weapon. The campaign aims to raise awareness of this and is being launched locally at the same time as a national campaign on the same subject. The campaign will also involve a knife amnesty with a series of amnesty bins being placed in six police stations for people to dispose of bladed weapons anonymously. We are committed to working with our partners to tackle knife crime.
Q. Is it in response to the increase of incidents in the city recently?
We are one of many forces up and down the country to launch a campaign this week as part of a nationwide initiative.
While we recognise that there is a perception that knife crime may be on the increase in the city due to a recent series of incidents, Home Office figures record that knife crime throughout Leicestershire remains stable, and has done for the last few years.
Q. Is knife crime gang related?
We do not have a problem with gang related knife crime in the city.
Q. Where is knife crime happening?
The key areas are the City, East Leicester & West Leicester
Q. Am I more likely to get stabbed on a night out now than I was five years ago?
We have seen a number of offences on Friday or Saturday nights, mainly between 8pm and 3am. We do not feel that there is a significant risk of being a victim of knife crime on a night out but would ask people to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity.
Q. If knife crime isn’t on the increase, then why the campaign?
Because one injury caused by a knife is one too many. We, and our partners, are determined to educate people that the carrying of a knife in a public place is totally unacceptable.
Q. Is knife crime under reported? What is being done to tackle this?
Like many other crimes, it is quite possible that the level of knife crime is under reported. That may be for several different reasons. Our intention, throughout long-term educational activity, is to make the carrying of knives, and their illegal use, socially unacceptable.
Q. What happens if someone hands in an item during the amnesty that could have been used in a crime?
Any knife handed to the police which is suspected of being involved in a crime will be thoroughly investigated to ensure that the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice.
Q. What do the knife arches do and where will they be?
The knife arches look like the type of metal detector arches used in airports. They can detect a knife. They will be used in busy streets throughout the city centre, and people will be encouraged to walk through them.
There is no law, however, obliging someone to walk through the arch. If a knife is detected in this way, it will be confiscated by an officer. We are also liaising with licensed premises in the city about the potential for them to be used at various locations.
Q. Are more people carrying knives?
That is difficult to assess. One person carrying a knife in a public place is one knife too many. Our overriding message during this campaign is for people to give up their knife and to hand it in during our amnesty so it can be disposed of.
Q. Is this a young person issue?
Knife crime is not age specific, nor does it relate to any other particular characteristic. However, it is true that there are a large number of perpetrators and victims of street-based knife crime who are men aged between 12 and 24 years old
Q. Does this campaign mean you will be stop searching more people in the city?
We will be continuing our work with partners in the city centre to stop weapons being taken into pubs/ clubs. This will include the use of knife arches and metal detector wands. Stop search is one method that we can use if we suspect that someone is carrying a bladed weapon. We regularly review our stop search processes to ensure that we are in line with the national guidelines and as a member of the Home Office’s Best Use of Stop Search scheme.
Q. What if a young person is caught with a knife?
The age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales is 10 years old so a young person can still be arrested and prosecuted for carrying a knife.