Police Express Concern At Teenagers Selling Knives Online

Police Express Concern At Teenagers Selling Knives Online

By Tony O’Reilly-

Illegal online sales of knives to underage teenagers remain a significant concern for police in England and Wales, with social media platforms such as TikTok, Snapchat, and those operated by Meta being used to facilitate these transactions.

Commander Stephen Clayman, the national lead for policing knife crime, emphasized the urgency of curbing the supply of weapons to prevent injuries and fatalities.

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Speaking ahead of a nationwide police initiative, Operation Sceptre, Commander Clayman described the ongoing issue as “a really concerning picture.”

The operation, scheduled to intensify action for a week this month and again in November, aims to address the accessibility of knives online and reduce knife-related incidents.

Policing Minister Chris Philp has advocated for increased use of stop-and-search powers by police forces, writing in the Daily Telegraph that such measures, when conducted lawfully and respectfully, are essential for effective policing. “The police must use the powers available to them without fear or favour,” Philp stated.

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Chief Constable Stephen Watson of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) supported this stance, noting that stop-and-search practices have contributed to a reduction in crime.

Over the past three years, GMP has increased stop-and-searches from 11,745 to 46,029, resulting in 6,600 more positive outcomes.

During the same period, robbery rates dropped by 11%, and the number of people admitted to hospital emergency departments with knife injuries fell by 27%.

“I take the view that if stop-and-search is conducted lawfully, objectively and respectfully, it ought not to be controversial,” Chief Constable Watson remarked.

He stressed that proactive policing is crucial in preventing criminal activities. “All I would assert is that in my long history as a police officer, if a force doesn’t act proactively then bad things happen.”

Despite these efforts, official statistics reveal that knife crime increased by 7% in the year leading up to December 2023. Alarmingly, 82% of teenage homicide victims were killed with a knife in the year ending March 2023, up from 73% the previous year.

In response to these disturbing trends, the Home Office announced an additional £3.5 million in funding for the research and development of new technologies capable of detecting knives from a distance.

This investment aims to enhance security measures and prevent knife-related incidents. Additionally, the Metropolitan Police will receive £547,863 to fund four more live facial recognition camera vans.

The government is also tightening laws around zombie knives, machetes, and swords starting in September. These new regulations will make it illegal to possess, sell, manufacture, or transport such weapons, with the maximum penalty for possession increasing from six months to two years.

A surrender and compensation scheme for these dangerous weapons is set to launch in the summer, providing a safer environment for all.

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