The Knife Sentence

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The Knife Sentence is an awareness campaign launched by the PCC to deter people from carrying a knife.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the tough new operational approach that the police are taking to tackle knife crime (Operation Deter) that was launched by the PCC and Thames Valley Police on 1 July 2022.

The Knife Sentence campaign will explore the broader impact that carrying a knife can have on people and communities. The dangers and consequences of carrying a knife affect not only you but also your friends, family and community. It may lead to a custodial sentence and impact you and others physically and emotionally. Your choices affect your long-term future and the lives of people around you.

Operation Deter was initially been launched in Milton Keynes following particular community concern about knife crime after a number of tragic incidents. Since then it has also launched in Aylesbury, Slough, Reading and Oxford and will soon be rolled out across the Thames Valley. The main objectives are to take a more streamlined approach to charging and remanding offenders aged over 18 to court, ensuring that a robust message is sent to anyone found in possession of a knife, and supporting under 18s to make better decisions.

You can read more in our Latest News and visit

Knife Sentence Competition

As part of our Knife Sentence Campaign and to coincide with December’s Month of Action Against Violence in Milton Keynes, we asked young people in Milton Keynes to get creative and enter our competition by telling us about how they feel about knife crime.

Young people were asked to rap, sing, speak or write about knife crime and express their feelings against violence.

12 year old Michele Bennet was the winner of the competition. You can hear his track below. The track, ‘Right Place Wrong Time’ was recorded with music group Readipop.

Right Place Wrong Time

Runners-up of the competition were Malakai Mapuvire and Emily Rapceviciute

Thames Valley Knife Crime Conference

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner is pleased to share a highlights video from its Knife Crime Conference hosted in June 2023.

The Office of the PCC is pleased to share a short video following the Thames Valley Knife Crime Conference hosted on 27 June 2023 in Milton Keynes.

The conference focused on the partnership approach to tackling knife crime, from Operation Deter; the robust policing and criminal justice approach which delivers swift criminal justice outcomes for adults who carry a knife and intensive interventions for those under 18, to a range of prevention and education programmes to stop young people being drawn into crime and violence.

The conference audience was made up of schools and a wide range of other partner organisations. It addressed the impact of knife crime on families, young people and communities, and facilitated discussion across organisations about what more can be done and how learning could be shared.

Amanda and Stuart Stephens whose son Olly was fatally stabbed in Reading in January 2021 spoke powerfully of the devastating impact of knife crime and the need for more awareness and education.

As well as the highlights reel (below), you can also find copies of short video clips from each event presenter as well as an edited full-version on our YouTube channel:  

PCC Matthew Barber talking about the launch of Op Deter

“Carrying a weapon endangers you and those around you and we all want to see those responsible held to account and taken off our streets”

Matthew Barber, Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley