This week Wiltshire Police is taking part in a national knife crime initiative called Operation Sceptre.

This is an awareness-raising campaign which runs twice a year and is designed to highlight the ongoing work police forces are doing to tackle violent crime.

Thankfully, here in Wiltshire, we continue to be a very safe county and the vast majority of people who live here will not be impacted by knife crime.

But, it remains incredibly important that our communities, and particularly parents, carers and guardians of young people and teenagers, have an understanding and awareness of the challenges facing us all.

We know that a small proportion of our young people feel that they need to carry a knife to feel safe.

And yet, statistically speaking, you are more likely to be injured or killed if you are carrying a weapon.

We also know that young people can be drawn into criminality at a relatively early age.

Offenders who look to exploit children, introducing them to a world of violence or illegal drugs, are manipulative and clever, using various tactics to gain their trust and respect.

So, I am using this column to appeal to all parents, grandparents, wider family members or carers.

Please make sure you are aware of the issues which your child could be facing and ensure you are doing your bit to build a strong relationship with them, so they feel they can speak to you about their worries or concerns.

As a father-of-five myself, I understand how tricky those teenage years can be.

But anything you can do to start having those difficult conversations now, could make a real difference.

The past 12 months have been incredibly difficult for young people.

The pandemic has seen their schools close, their clubs or activities halted, their social life shut down, and we know that this will have had a huge impact on them.

They could be feeling lonely, they could be spending more time online, they could be very vulnerable.

But support is out there.

The last thing I want to do is to cause you undue concern. As I mentioned before, Wiltshire continues to be a very safe county.

But we shouldn’t tolerate any risk, no matter how small it might be.

So, please speak to your children, and if you have a real concern about a child in your life then please speak to someone.

Call the police, contact their school, look online for resources and advice. There are people who can help.

For specific guidance and advice on issues relating to knife crime please visit