A KNIFE amnesty is being held across North Yorkshire as part of a national week of action.

North Yorkshire Police is once again taking part in Operation Sceptre, a national campaign to tackle knife crime, which began today (September 16).

The coordinated week of activity encourages members of the public, children, young people and their parents to hand in any knives or bladed weapons to local police stations so they can be safely disposed.

Officers will be distributing posters across the region’s schools, educating children about the dangers of carrying knives and ensuring they know what to do should they come across a knife or bladed weapon.

Officers also want to engage with members of the public who might have decorative knives in their possession, encouraging them to surrender these and ensure they do not end up in the wrong hands.

North Yorkshire Police detective superintendent Fran Naughton, said: “Instances of knife crime in North Yorkshire are very low and we are committed to keeping it that way. Operation Sceptre provides an important opportunity to continue the conversation about knife crime, helping children and young people understand the dangers and potentially fatal consequences of carrying a knife, whilst providing support for them and their families.”

Knife collection bins have been placed in police stations across the county, including York's on Fulford Road, which is open from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Sunday.

North Yorkshire Police will also be working alongside Trading Standards throughout this week to educate and support retailers.

In addition to activity around Op Sceptre, North Yorkshire Police established Operation Divan in May 2018 with the aim of identifying and supporting young people who may be thinking of, or already carrying weapons or knives.

Working together with key partners such as the Youth Justice Service and other agencies, vulnerable young people are identified as early as possible and one-to-one support and education about the risk and harm of weapons is offered. Issues such as ‘county lines’ drug dealing, child sexual exploitation and bullying are also discussed.

Speaking about the campaign, North Yorkshire Police sergeant Neil Northend, who oversees youth engagement, said: “By using the Op Divan process we are able to identify and speak with those young people at an early stage, who are thinking of using or carrying a weapon. Police, along with partner agencies, can then gain the right support for the young person and their family. Looking to ‘steer’ them away from this risk-taking behaviour whilst at the same time raising awareness around the dangers of carrying a weapon.”