Following the successful launch of Operation Deter – a zero tolerance approach to knife crime in Milton Keynes, Thames Valley Police have now extended the initiative to Aylesbury.
The operation, driven by TVP and the Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC), Matthew Barber, will continue to focus on prosecution, intervention and prevention.
Operation Deter’s main objective is to make better use of charging and remanding offenders aged over 18 to court, sending a robust message to anyone found in possession of a knife.
Operation Deter started in Aylesbury on 26 August, with the first charge and remand decision already secured.
Alexander Coman, aged 32, of Hilton Avenue, Aylesbury, was charged with one count of possession of a knife blade/sharp pointed article in a public place last Friday (26/8).
The charge relates to an incident in Hilton Avenue on 24 August.
Coman was remanded in custody before appearing at High Wycombe Magistrates Court where he was bailed until 28 September.
Commenting on the operation expanding to Aylesbury, PCC Matthew Barber said: “The tough approach to knife carrying that has been introduced as part of Op Deter is seeing swift action being taken against criminals.
“Launched in Milton Keynes in July it has already seen an increase in those charged, remanded and presented to court for knife crime offences.
“I am determined to tackle the culture of knife carrying across Thames Valley and I am pleased that Operation Deter is showing some positive early signs.”
The unlawful possession of a knife is covered by Section 139 of the Criminal Justice Act (1988), which is the offence of having an article with a blade or point in a public place.
This is an ‘either way’ offence, which carries a maximum sentence of six months’ imprisonment or a fine in the Magistrates’ Court, or up to four years’ imprisonment in the Crown Court.
The operation adopts a zero tolerance approach to knife possession offences in Aylesbury for offenders 18 and over, with the aim being that any knife possession offences are proactively charged and remanded to court by Thames Valley Police while the suspect is still in custody.
Following the charge, the custody sergeant will then take a more robust approach to bail.
This will set a clear message to those routinely carrying a knife in Aylesbury, that this will simply not be tolerated.
The operation initially launched in Milton Keynes on 1 July, and has now been extended to Aylesbury Vale, with a view to roll-out across the entire force area over the coming year.
The results from the first month of the operation in Milton Keynes showed a significant increase in charge and remand decisions.
Through this more proactive approach, Thames Valley Police recorded 57 knife-enabled crimes in Milton Keynes in July, with 22 people charged, 16 of those remanded, and 25 bailed with conditions while investigations continue.
Comparatively, in June, 25 knife-enabled crimes were recorded with six people charged, ten bailed, six released under investigation, one cautioned, and two released with no further action.
Custody Inspector for Milton Keynes and Aylesbury, Michael Morland said: “We have already seen a significant increase in the number of individuals charged and remanded to court, and this operation now expanding to include Aylesbury will continue to target those who seek to carry knives in public.
“This zero-tolerance approach will continue and will be stepped up in the coming months and rolled out in other force areas.”
If you have any information or know of someone who is carrying a knife, you can report this to us on 101 or online, or for 100% anonymity, by calling the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.