Thames Valley Police’s robust approach to knife carrying has been included in a national report on tackling serious violence published by the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.
Innovative and Effective Approaches to Tackling Serious Violence is the latest In Focus report from the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners which features several best practice case studies for tackling serious violence, including Operation Deter.
Spearheaded by Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Barber, Operation Deter seeks swifter charge and remand decisions to those who carry knives with the aim of reducing knife-enabled crime, reducing re-offending and bringing more offenders of knife-enabled crime to justice.
Thames Valley Police has been rolling out this tougher criminal justice approach to adults found in possession of an offensive weapon since July 2022 with Op Deter now in place across the whole of the Thames Valley.
In addition to tackling adult offending, two early intervention schemes aimed specifically at those under the age of 18 have also been put in place in Slough and Milton Keynes.
Under these schemes, the local Youth Offending Team (YOT) is immediately notified when an individual under the age of 18 is arrested for carrying a knife or a knife offence. A YOT representative will then attend custody within 90 minutes and meet with the young person giving them the maximum incentive to engage.
A full independent evaluation of Op Deter is currently being commissioned by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, funded by the PCC and the Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit, but early data indicates a successful implementation of the approach with positive outputs.
For adults in Milton Keynes, in the two six-month periods before and after the launch of Op Deter, there was a 35% increase in the number of arrests for knife possession that resulted in charges.
Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Barber, said: “I am pleased Operation Deter has featured in the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners latest report on tackling serious violence.
“Tackling knife crime and serious violence across the Thames Valley remains a top priority for me and for Thames Valley Police. Operation Deter has been key to taking more knives off our streets and I’m proud of the work being done by Officers to keep our residents safe.”
Click to download Innovative and Effective Approaches to Tackling Serious Violence. Operation Deter features on pages 6-10.