A CRACKDOWN on knife crime in Rugby has been launched by police.
The new ‘proactive policing operation’, called Operation Spigot, has been set up in response to the number of incidents involving knives – particularly in the town centre – in the past 12 months.
During the 12 months to August 2020, 101 people were convicted of possession of an offensive weapon in the Rugby area, a rise of over 10 per cent on the previous year.
The new operation will see officers patrol hotspot areas, and carry out warrants and stop-searches based on intelligence.
Police will teach young people about the dangers of carrying a knife, while encouraging the public to report anyone who does so.
They will also seek to educate potential victims, parents, teachers, and the community on knife crime and related issues such as drug use and exploitation.
Other key parts of the operation include helping people to spot the signs of someone being vulnerable to involvement in knife crime, and targeting individuals who may be more susceptible to becoming involved in crime.
Inspector Sally Bunyard-Spiers from Rugby’s Safer Neighbourhood Teams said: “Operation Spigot is designed to drive down the level of knife crime in Rugby, particularly among young people.
“While there are obvious dangers to carrying a knife, often youngsters don’t think of some of the longer term consequences.
“If someone is convicted of carrying a knife it can have a profound impact on their future by preventing them from getting certain jobs, going to university or even travelling abroad.
“Above all else, if they use the knife, someone could end up seriously hurt or worse, and in recent years we have seen the tragic consequences of when someone chooses to carry a knife in Rugby.
She said knife crime affected the whole community by raising the fear of crime.
“If people see others carrying knives they think they should do the same, which increases the number of knives on the streets,” she added. “We want to reduce that number.
“There is a preconception that knife crime is associated solely with gangs and while that can sometimes be the case, often innocent bystanders can get caught in the middle of other people’s disputes.
“If someone is caught either carrying a knife or using one, we will strive to carry out a thorough investigation and where possible, ensure they are brought to justice and face the punishment that befits their crime.
“We want to reassure the community we are doing everything we can to ensure people are aware of the risks of carrying a knife. We are also keen to educate people about the dangers of knife crime and other associated issues such as drug use, exploitation and vulnerability.
“We all have a duty to keep our communities safe and we’re asking everyone to play their part in our ongoing bid to drive down the level of knife crime within the borough.
“If you see someone carrying a knife or acting suspiciously, please get in touch. A single call could save someone’s life.”
Anyone who has information about knife crime can contact the police online, by calling 101, or via Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.