POLICE are launching their knives amnesty and knife crime prevention fortnight, starting today (Monday September 16).

As part of Op Sceptre - the national knife crime prevention initiative, also launched today, bringing together police forces co-ordinating ways to tackle knife crime - police will be appealing for people to hand in unwanted or illegal knives and bladed weapons during the period of the amnesty: Monday 16 - Sunday September 29.

Knives are used as an everyday tool in the home and in industry, but when placed in the wrong hands or adapted for the wrong purpose this can have devastating consequences.

Recorded knife crime figures for Wiltshire are very stable; between June 2018 and June 2019 the county saw a rise of just 7 per cent, meaning knife crime is only 0.63 per cent of all our recorded crime in this time period.

Special amnesty bins are available at 13 locations across the county. This is double the number of bins to last year's amnesty in September 2018.

The knife amnesty gives people the chance to dispose of knives and weapons by simply taking them to one of the specified police stations, churches or community centres and dropping them in to an amnesty bin; those handing in knives and weapons will not face prosecution for possession of a knife or weapon and can remain anonymous.

Any incidents of knife crime are a major concern but the public should be reassured that we will continue to vigorously investigate offences linked to any knives or weapons recovered.

Assistant chief constable Maggie Blyth said: “We want to raise the awareness of the dangers of carrying a knife or owning an illegal weapon.

“Wiltshire cannot be compared to what is happening in the more urban areas of Britain but we are never complacent; we must let the public know what we can do to remove knives from our streets.

“Carrying a knife should not be considered the norm. Fortunately in Wiltshire very few choose to leave the house with a knife or blade, and sadly the reality is that those who do are more likely to be involved in a violent act or be injured.

"Education is key, and we need to be passing this on to our children that it's never OK to carry a knife.

"If you need one for work then you should minimise the time you have it on your person and only keep it for the purposes of work.

“We hope this fortnight will give people a chance to safely dispose of knives they no longer use and think about the knives or weapons they may have in their property. People may not know that a knife hung up in the shed is illegal or haven’t considered the risk of an ornamental knife they own.

"During the amnesty we are also encouraging people to hand in illegal knives such as zombie knives, butterfly knives, flick knives, machetes and lock knives. This is a chance to avoid prosecution by disposing of knives safely in an amnesty bin.

"Please do the right thing to help keep Wiltshire safe."

Anyone handing in a knife or weapon during the amnesty is advised to check the opening times of their nearest bin by visiting the Wiltshire Police website or calling 101.

If you have information about someone who carries a knife or is involved knife crimes please call us on 101 or 999 in an emergency. Information can also be left anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Amnesty bin locations include:

Swindon's Gablecross Police Station

Broadgreen Community Centre, Swindon

Town Centre policing point, Swindon

Pinetrees Community Centre, Swindon

Marlborough Police Station

Melksham Police Station

St Andrews Church, Melksham

Monkton Park, Chippenham

Trowbridge Police Station

St James Church, Trowbridge

St James Church, Devizes

Bourne Hill, Salisbury

SP2 Community Centre, Salisbury