Following the successful launch of Operation Deter – a zero tolerance approach to knife crime in Milton Keynes and Aylesbury, Thames Valley Police have now extended the initiative to Slough.
The operation, which has been 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.
Commenting on the operation expanding to Slough, PCC Matthew Barber said: “I know that there are concerns in Slough about knife crime following recent incidents and I want to reassure residents that the possession and carrying of knives won’t be tolerated.
“I am pleased to see Op Deter being extended to Slough. This tough operational policing approach has already shown early positive signs in Milton Keynes and Aylesbury. I hope to see this trend continue as it is adopted in Slough, with more people being charged and remanded in court and more knives taken off our streets.“
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 pointed 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 will adopt a zero tolerance approach to knife possession offences in Slough for offenders aged 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 send a clear message to those routinely carrying a knife in Slough, that this will simply not be tolerated.
The operation initially launched in Milton Keynes on 1 July, and has since been extended to Aylesbury Vale and now includes Slough, with a view to roll-out across the entire force area over the coming year.
Through this more proactive approach, Thames Valley Police recorded 57 knife-enabled crimes in Milton Keynes in September, with this leading to 17 people being charged and remanded. 25 people were bailed while investigations continue.
In Aylesbury in September, 23 knife-enabled crimes were recorded, leading to seven people being charged and remanded. Ten people were bailed while investigations continue.
Superintendent Lee Barnham, Local Policing Area Commander for Slough, said: “Whilst we have always taken a robust approach to the possession of weapons in Slough we are dedicating even more officers to seeking out those who think it is acceptable to be in possession of weapons, particularly knives.
“Our approach to how we deal with those carrying weapons has changed. We will seek to charge those carrying weapons on the day of their arrest and remand them in custody with a view to making sure perpetrators face the very real prospect of going straight to jail for having a weapon.”
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.