How would you get rid of an old kitchen knife?

That’s the question from Dyfed-Powys Police during a national week of action to tackle knife crime.

The campaign, known as Operation Sceptre, runs from September 16 to 22 and aims to keep knives and blades out of circulation, while also increasing awareness about the dangers of carrying knives.

During the week, people are being encouraged to leave unwanted knives in amnesty bins at police stations across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys

The force also wants people to know how to safely dispose of knives and blades outside of the amnesty period, and to urge anyone involved in a household clearance, or those who would consider leaving knives at a charity shop, to instead bring them to a recycling centre for safe disposal.

Inspector for specialist operations, Tim Davies, said: “Dyfed-Powys remains a safe place to live, work and visit, and thankfully we don’t face the level of knife crime other areas see. For this campaign we are changing our approach to focus on keeping knives that could travel to other areas, out of criminal hands.

“It can be difficult to know the right thing to do with an old knife when you buy a new set, or inherit them from a relative. We want anyone involved in household clearances, people with elderly relatives, and charity shops, to know they can take unwanted or donated knives to the tip.”

The force is also encouraging a common sense approach to selling knives and blades, after credit card blades were handed in to them during the last amnesty, in March 2019.

When officers visited a store in Haverfordwest, they were presented with a box containing 42 black plastic items around the size of a credit card. On opening the card, a hidden blade was revealed which could lock in place. Knives with a lockable blade are illegal to carry, so officers took the items away to be destroyed.

Insp. Tim Davies said: “Many types of blades are legal to sell, but have a questionable purpose. We will be working with retailers to discuss the law, and what is sensible.

“We will also be working with schools, colleges and youth clubs to reinforce the message about the dangers of carrying knives among young people.

“Carrying a knife is a crime which brings that added risk that a minor issue can escalate into something much more serious and potentially life changing.

“The damage caused by knives, not just to the victim and their families, but also to the wider community, can be devastating. We will be doing all we can to keep knives out of the wrong hands.

“While Dyfed-Powys has not experienced the high volume of knife-related incidents seen in other forces, we are supporting our police colleagues nationally by taking part in Operation Sceptre.

“Our force has a lower rate of knife crime than the national average – in the year ending March 2018, there were 31 crimes involving knives per 100,000 of the population in Dyfed-Powys. Across Wales, this figure stands at 37, and nationally there were 69 knife crimes per 100,000 people during the same period.”

To find the nearest recycling centre, visit your local council’s website:

 

Knife surrender bins will be located at the following police stations between September 16 and 22:

Station

Opening Times

Llanelli Police Station

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Carmarthen Police Station

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Ammanford Police Station

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Saturday and Sunday 9am to 5pm

Haverfordwest Police Station

Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm

Saturday and Sunday 9am to 1pm

Pembroke Dock Station

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Aberystwyth Police Station

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 5pm

(Closed 1pm to 1.40pm)

Cardigan Police Station

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

(Closed 1pm to 1.40pm)

Brecon Police Station

Monday to Sunday, 9am to 5pm

Newtown Police Station

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 5pm

Llandrindod Wells Police Station

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

 

 

What are the laws around carrying knives?

It’s illegal to:

  • sell a knife to anyone under 18
  • carry a knife in public without good reason, unless it has a folding blade with a cutting edge 3 inches long or less
  • carry, buy or sell any type of banned knife
  • use any knife in a threatening way (even a legal knife)

Lock knives are not classed as folding knives and are illegal to carry in public without good reason. Lock knives:

  • have blades that can be locked and refolded only by pressing a button
  • can include multi-tool knives - tools that also contain other devices such as a screwdriver or can opener

It is illegal to bring into the UK, sell, lend, hire or give anyone a sword – including samurai sword – with a curved blade over 50cm. There are some exceptions, such as antiques and swords made to traditional methods before 1954.

It is illegal to bring into the UK, sell, hire, lend or give anyone the following:

  • butterfly knives (also known as ‘balisongs’) - a blade hidden inside a handle that splits in the middle
  • disguised knives - a blade or sharp point hidden inside what looks like everyday objects such as a buckle, phone, brush or lipstick
  • flick knives (also known as ‘switchblades’ or ‘automatic knives’) - a blade hidden inside a handle which shoots out when a button is pressed
  • gravity knives
  • stealth knives - a knife or spike not made from metal (except when used at home, for food or a toy)
  • zombie knives - a knife with a cutting edge, a serrated edge and images or words suggesting it is used for violence
  • swords, including samurai swords - a curved blade over 50cm (with some exceptions, such as antiques and swords made to traditional methods before 1954)
  • sword-sticks - a hollow walking stick or cane containing a blade
  • push daggers
  • blowpipes (‘blow gun’)
  • telescopic truncheons - extend automatically by pressing button or spring in the handle
  • batons - straight, side-handled or friction-lock truncheons
  • hollow kubotans - a cylinder-shaped keychain holding spikes
  • shurikens (also known as ‘shaken’, ‘death stars’ or ‘throwing stars’)
  • kusari-gama - a sickle attached to a rope, cord or wire
  • kyoketsu-shoge - a hook-knife attached to a rope, cord or wire
  • kusari (or ‘manrikigusari’) - a weight attached to a rope, cord, wire
  • hand or foot-claws
  • knuckledusters

The maximum penalty for an adult carrying a knife is 4 years in prison and an unlimited fine. You’ll get a prison sentence if you’re convicted of carrying a knife more than once.

How can I surrender a knife during Op Sceptre?

Knife surrender bins will be located at the following police stations between March 11 and 17:

Station

Opening Times

Llanelli Police Station

Monday-Friday 09:00 – 17:00

Carmarthen Police Station

Monday-Friday 09:00 – 17:00

Ammanford Police Station

Monday-Friday 08:00 – 18:00

Saturday, Sunday 09:00 to 17:00

Haverfordwest Police Station

Monday – Friday 08:00 to 20:00

Saturday, Sunday 09:00 to 17:00

Pembroke Dock

Monday to Friday 09:00 until 17:00

Aberystwyth Police Station

Monday to Friday 08:00 until 20:00

Saturday, Sunday 09:00 - 17:00

Llandrindod Wells Police Station

 Monday - Friday 09:00 – 17:00

Cardigan Police Station

Monday-Friday 09:00 – 17:00

Brecon Police Station

Monday– Sun 09:00 – 17:00

Newtown Police Station

Monday– Friday 08:00 – 20:00

Saturday, Sunday 09:00 to 17:00

Any knife or bladed article prohibited by law.

Op Sceptre is a knife amnesty. There will be a sealed bin to put your knife or blade in. No questions will be asked, and no details will be taken.

The aim is to take dangerous weapons off the streets.

I think someone I know carries a knife

If you know that somebody is carrying a knife, even if it’s your friend, son, daughter, dad or uncle, you must understand that it is against the law.  It doesn’t make it right if your older brother or dad is doing it, it is still an offence to carry a knife and to use it.

Here are some tips and advice for what to do if you know that someone is carrying a knife;

  • Never think you can talk to the person carrying a weapon to persuade them not to use it.
  • If possible report the matter to the police straight away, don’t think that you are grassing on your mate or loved one, you are potentially saving someone else’s life.
  • Do not try to take the knife off a child, friend or loved one, as this may anger them and the situation may escalate and become uncontrollable.

You can report to Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111

You can share information with Fearless here. This is not a page for reporting urgent matters or crimes in progress.

How can I talk to my child about knife crime?

Find a quiet time and a bit of privacy. If home is crowded, you could talk in the car, walking the dog or on the way to the shops. It may help to avoid times when you know they're likely to be tired or hungry.

Reassure them that they can be honest with you and let them know you'll support them without judgement – no matter what. 

Your child may be reluctant or scared to talk at first - it’s a difficult subject.

Be patient and try not to react straight away to what they tell you. Let them talk as much as they want to first.

Encourage them to share their fears and worries.

Sharing your own fears can help - tell them how much you worry about their safety and their future.

Let them know that they do have a choice in what they do, even though it may seem like they don’t.

Make them aware that vast majority of young people don’t carry a knife.

Let them know that youth and community workers now report that fewer young people carry knives and that it's becoming less and less acceptable to do so.

It's easy to get emotional about this kind of topic, and your child might think you don't know what you're talking about, so a bit of preparation can really help.

Remember the following:

  • It’s illegal for anyone to carry a knife – even in self-defence and even if the knife belongs to someone else, such as a friend or a partner.
  • Carrying a knife could mean being arrested, going to court and getting a criminal record, or even a prison sentence.
  • 99% of 10-29 year-olds don’t carry a knife
  • People who carry a weapon are more likely to be hospitalised with an injury caused by any violence

Check out websites like Crimestoppers or Fearless to get the facts.

Encourage them to consider who they’d be affecting if they get involved in knife crime.

How do they think you, their grandparents or their brothers or sisters will feel if they're arrested or get hurt?

If they use a knife on someone, others could come looking for them at home and this could put other family members in danger.

It may be that you learn some worrying things about your child and the things they're involved in.

Try not to overreact but don't feel you have to deal with this on your own - help is available.

Visit No Knives, Better Lives or Family Lives for advice, or call Family Lives on 0808 800 2222.

Try to speak with other parents nearby who might share your concerns.

I run a shop or business

It is an offence to sell the following to anyone:

  • flick-knives, gravity knives, belt buckle knives
  • swordsticks containing a blade
  • push daggers, butterfly knives
  • kyotetsu shoge (a rope, cord or chain fastened to a hooked knife)
  • hand and foot claws, hollow kybatan with spikes, shuriken or death star
  • kusari gam a (a rope, cord, wire or chain fastened at one end to a sickle)

The law doesn’t apply to:

  • folding pocket knives if the cutting edge of the blade is less than 7.62cm (three inches)
  • replacement cartridges for safety razors, where less than 2mm of the blade is exposed

It is an offence to sell the following to anyone under 18:

  • any knife, knife blade or razor blade
  • any axe
  • any other article that has a blade or is sharply pointed and is made or adapted for use for causing injury to the person

It is an offence to advertise a knife in a way that:

  • suggests it is suitable for combat, for use as a weapon for inflicting injury or causing fear of injury to the person

OR

  • is likely to encourage violent behaviour using the knife as a weapon

There are exemptions to allow sales of such items for legitimate purposes, such as for use by armed forces, as antiques or as collectors' pieces.

To stay within the law, you should introduce an age verification policy and have effective systems to prevent an underage sale. These systems should be regularly checked and updated as necessary to identify and put right any problems to keep up with any advances in technology.

Best practice features of an effective system include:

AGE VERIFICATION CHECKS:

Always ask young people to produce proof of their age. The Government has a national Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS), which includes a number of card issuers. You can be confident that a card issued under the scheme and bearing the PASS hologram is an acceptable proof of age. The hologram should be an integral part of the card, and not an add-on.

A passport or photocard driving licence can also be accepted, but make sure that the card matches the person using it and the date of birth shows they are 18 or over.

Military identification cards can be used as proof of age but, as with other forms of identification, make sure the photo matches the person presenting the card and check the date of birth. Be aware that military identification cards can be held by 16 and 17-year-old service people.

If the person cannot prove they are 18 or over, or if you are in any doubt, then the sale should be refused.

OPERATE A CHALLENGE 21 OR CHALLENGE 25 POLICY

This means that if the person appears to be under 21 or 25, they will be asked to verify that they are 18 or over by showing valid proof of age.

STAFF TRAINING

Make sure your staff are properly trained. They should know which products are age-restricted, what the age restriction is, and the action they must take if they believe a person under is attempting to buy. It is important that you can prove your staff have understood what is required of them under the legislation. This can be done by keeping a record of the training and asking members of staff to sign to say that they have understood it. 

KEEP A REFUSALS LOG

All refusals should be recorded (date, time, incident, description of potential buyer). Maintaining a refusals log will help to demonstrate that you actively refuse sales and have an effective system in place. Logs should be checked by the manager / owner to ensure that all members of staff are using them.

STORE & PRODUCT LAYOUT

Identify age-restricted products and consider moving them nearer to the counter, or even behind it. Consider displaying dummy packs so people have to ask for the products if they want to buy them.

TILL PROMPTS

It may be possible for your till to prompt staff to check age restrictions. Alternatively, stickers can be used over  product barcodes.

SIGNS

Display posters showing age limits and a statement regarding the refusal of such sales. This may deter potential purchasers and act as a reminder to staff.

ONLINE SALES

If you sell online or through a catalogue, you should set up a system that can verify the age of purchasers to ensure they are 18 or over to buy a knife or blade.

If you commit an offence of selling to a person under 18, the maximum penalty is a £5,000 fine and six months' imprisonment.

If you commit an offence over the way a knife is marketed, the maximum penalty is a fine and two years' imprisonment.

I'm a tradesman

The law recognize that there are certain trades and types of employment that require an employee, workman or member of staff to possess an knife or an object which can, in certain circumstances, be considered an offensive weapon.

It would be up to you to defend an allegation of possessing a blade by arguing that the knife is a tool of your trade.

Stanley knives are a common tool in the working environment, as is a knife for a chef.

 A folding pocket knife which has a blade which is less than 3 inches in length can legally be carried.

How does stop and search work?

The police can stop and question you at any time - they can search you depending on the situation.

A police community support officer (PCSO) must be in uniform when they stop and question you. A police officer doesn’t always have to be in uniform but if they’re not wearing uniform they must show you their warrant card.

A police officer has powers to stop and search you if they have ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect you’re carrying:

  • illegal drugs
  • a weapon
  • stolen property
  • something which could be used to commit a crime, such as a crowbar

You can only be stopped and searched without reasonable grounds if it has been approved by a senior police officer. This can happen if it is suspected that:

  • serious violence could take place
  • you’re carrying a weapon or have used one
  • you’re in a specific location or area

A police officer might stop you and ask:

  • what your name is
  • what you’re doing in the area
  • where you’re going

You don’t have to stop or answer any questions. If you don’t and there’s no other reason to suspect you, then this alone can’t be used as a reason to search or arrest you.

Before you’re searched the police officer must tell you:

  • their name and police station
  • what they expect to find, for example drugs
  • the reason they want to search you, for example if it looks like you’re hiding something
  • why they are legally allowed to search you
  • that you can have a record of the search and if this isn’t possible at the time, how you can get a copy

A police officer can ask you to take off your coat, jacket or gloves.

The police might ask you to take off other clothes and anything you’re wearing for religious reasons - for example a veil or turban. If they do, they must take you somewhere out of public view.

If the officer wants to remove more than a jacket and gloves they must be the same sex as you.

No, being searched does not mean you have been arrested.