More than 100 weapons seized during week of action to combat knife crime

An ad van carrying the 'knife surrender' message with statistics on the reduction of knife crime

An intensified week of action towards reducing and preventing knife crime in Merseyside has ended with more than 100 knives and dangerous weapons recovered by police.

Sceptre (Monday 13 to Sunday 19 May) is a national campaign to target those carrying weapons, prevent knife related offences and raise awareness of the dangers of knife crime.

During the week of action, a knife and weapons surrender took place at 10 police stations across Merseyside. In total, 100 weapons were handed in, which included swords, flick knives and other bladed articles banned under the Offensive Weapons Act.

A number of proactive operations took place to tackle and prevent knife crime, including a number of stop searches, weapons sweeps, search warrants and knife detection arches deployed, resulting in the seizure of an additional 13 knives, taking the total number of knives recovered to 113.

45 test purchase operations were carried out at various stores across Merseyside to spot check age compliance with the sale of knives, with the support of Merseyside’s Police Cadets. Of the 45 retail premises visited, 43 challenged the underage Cadets for identification before refusing to sell the items.

The retailers were given support and advice to ensure future compliance, will undergo a review of its underage sales policies and be subject to further test purchases.

During the week, officers also took part in 18 community and school events where they engaged with hundreds of young people. Officers spoke to young people to educate them about the dangers of carrying a knife and the potential impact of doing so.

A major conference supported by the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership (MVRP) also took place which saw the Police and Crime Commissioner, Emily Spurrell, and Chief Constable, Serena Kennedy, unite with more than 120 healthcare professionals to focus on working closing together to prevent serious violence including knife crime.

The MVRP also held a number of initiatives, including a StreetDoctors session at Wirral Youth Justice Services focused on teaching young people how to save lives using a new first aid e-learning app which explains how to stop a potentially life-threatening bleed.

Around 70 people from youth organisations, housing and children’s associations also attended two Knifesavers training events at Aintree University Hospital focused teaching them how to deal with a knife injury and stem blood loss, using special bleeding control kits.

The MVRP’s Mentors in Violence Prevention training delivered by Merseyside Youth Association which empowers young people to help prevent violence, bullying and other forms of abuse was also running in schools in Liverpool and the Wirral.

The Police and Crime Commissioner and MVRP also launched a new fund focused on preventing serious violence by offering young people safe, positive opportunities. Community groups can now apply for grants of between £5,000 and £25,000 from the YES (Youth Empowerment Scheme) for projects designed to unlock the potential of thousands of young people and help them to steer them away from trouble.

The twice-yearly operation involves all 43 police forces in England and Wales and British Transport Police and builds on the prevention and enforcement work police carry out all year round to combat knife crime.

As a result of proactive policing and education, supported and delivered by partner organisations, Merseyside has seen significant reductions in both serious violence and knife crime, with 263 fewer victims of serious violence in the last year alone. Knife crime has also fallen by 18.6% for the year ending September 2023 compared with the previous 12 months (Office of National Statistics).

Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “The results of Sceptre are very welcome and are yet another example of our shared determination to prevent and reduce the use of knives and their potentially devastating consequences in our communities.

“It’s reassuring to hear the overwhelming majority of retailers and shopworkers refused to sell knives to underage customers during the test purchases. This demonstrates what we already know; the vast majority of people in Merseyside stand against knife crime.

“In the past year, knife crime has reduced by nearly a fifth thanks to the hard work of Merseyside Police, our Violence Reduction Partnership and a whole host of partners including councils, schools and youth organisations.

“We know that enforcement alone will not tackle the root causes of why people find themselves involved in violent crime and that’s why prevention is at the heart of all our work.

“The launch of our new Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES) will help support this work – offering a vital cash boost to our community organisations to deliver projects which will help to prevent young people from getting drawn into activities that could become criminal or dangerous, creating safer, brighter futures.”

Inspector Laura Leach, Deputy Lead for Serious Violence and Knife Crime said: “Sceptre builds on our ongoing partnership work with schools, retailers and organisations, who all support our clear objectives as a force: to reduce and prevent knife crime and the harm it causes to communities.

“The results from this week of action are encouraging and highlight what our officers do on a regular basis to tackle this issue. 113 dangerous weapons are now off the streets of Merseyside and cannot fall into the wrong hands. We saw a 96% pass rate from the test purchase operation and continue to work with retailers about the importance of age checking.

“As police officers we see firsthand the devastation brought about by knife crime and will continue working tirelessly to prevent other lives from being taken. That’s why the work of our Safer Schools Officers, Violence Reduction Partnership, and volunteers such as the Police Cadets, are so important to help educate the public of the dangers of knife crime and spread awareness.

“While we have weeks of action like this to tackle knife crime, it is a year-round focus for the force. Through targeted uniformed patrols in hotspot areas, using powers such as Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVROs) and working hand in hand with partners, we are consistently working to reduce and disrupt serious violence in Merseyside.  

“The public play a key role in this too. If you have any information which could support us, including who is carrying, using, or storing knives or weapons, please come forward so we can continue to disrupt offenders and bring them to justice.”

If you have information about someone carrying a knife, or know someone involved in crime, you can report any concerns on 999 if a crime is in progress, via 101, or our social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC.

You can also pass information via Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at:

Organisations can find out more about the Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES) and apply at:

Youth Empowerment Scheme | Community Foundation (