Knife amnesty figures a double-edged sword’
THE five-week national knife amnesty ends tomorrow (Friday) and so far 42 weapons have been handed in at the Royston police station. And across Herts just under 2,000 knives and weapons have been handed over. A police spokesman said: Figures for the coun
THE five-week national knife amnesty ends tomorrow (Friday) and so far 42 weapons have been handed in at the Royston police station.
And across Herts just under 2,000 knives and weapons have been handed over.
A police spokesman said: "Figures for the county have been more than we had previously anticipated. The county figure has come as a surprise."
The amnesty started on May 24 in an attempt to urge people who have knives and dangerous weapons to hand them in without fear of prosecution.
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Royston has been one of the lowest areas in the county for handing over weapons.
In October 2002, it had the highest hand-over rate after Herts police issued a county wide amnesty after a man was convicted of murdering a stranger with a Samurai sword.
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During that six week amnesty 52 weapons - which included a hand-axe and meat cleaver - were left at the Royston police station.
Community officer Pc Colin Mingay said: "At the moment Royston has been one of the lowest areas in the county for handing in knives, yet three years ago it was the highest.
"These sort of figures are always like a double-edged sword. You have to look at the figures in terms of reducing the availability and circulation of dangerous weapons that can potentially harm someone.
"Whether it be 10 or 50 knives handed in - it means that there are less that can end up out on the streets."
PC Mingay continued: "People have been supportive and it's made them stop and think. I think that the campaign has been successful."
A police spokesman said that across Herts the amnesty has been a success, but warned that this was just the start.
"The long-term aim of the operation is ultimately education. Police Community Support Officers will be visiting schools and highlighting the consequences and dangers of carrying weapons and running campaigns to educate young people.
"The amnesty is just the start, the next step is education."
He added: "The amnesty has unquestionably reduced the number of dangerous weapons that could have made their way onto the streets. Now we must work together and put a stop to knife-related crime."
Steps for combating the problem are already in place, with possible proposals including raising the legal age of purchasing knives from 16 years to 18 years.
Other proposals include on-the-spot street searches and giving teachers more power within schools.