‘Knives away’ - amnesty begins to stop more crimes

Chief Inspector Richard Coates
Chief Inspector Richard Coates
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A KNIFE amnesty will begin this week in Hailsham to stop the risk of bladed weapons being illegally used for crimes.

The police iniative called ‘Knives Away’ follows two high profile crimes in the town reported by the Sussex Express earlier this year, 2012. It is illegal to carry any sharp or bladed instrument in a public place, with the exception of a folding pocket knife which has a blade less than 7.62cm long.

People will be able to hand over knives to police to be safely disposed, even anonoymously, from this Monday, October 1, until October 15.

The Police Commander for Wealden District, Chief Inspector Richard Coates said, “Although knife crime is extremely low across Wealden, there have been a number of high profile cases in Hailsham. With these in the forefront of our minds, it is imperative that we educate young people of the possible consequences of carrying a bladed item.

“This amnesty will give members of the public the opportunity to dispose of any knives without prosecution. We will also be out in the town proactively interacting with young people to offer additional advice and support around knife crime as well as stop searching for weapons when appropriate.”

Members of the local Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) will collect knives and other bladed instruments from people who want to hand them in. The operation will involve bins placed at various points in Hailsham. Police will then take part in an ‘engagement’ week, from October 15, to target those suspected of still carrying knives.

Town Cllr Maggie Burt said knife crime was generally rare in Hailsham but the amnesty had been designed to make the community safer and reassure the public.

Cllr Burt said: “It will give us the chance to remove knives and other bladed items from unlawful circulation and give members of the public the opportunity to hand them in and, if they wish, anonymously. By housing an amnesty bin at the town council offices, the town council is working with Sussex Police to encourage young people in the town to hand their knives in, no questions asked.”

Knife amnesty bins will be located at the following sites in Hailsham from October 1 to 15: Hailsham Police Station, George Street; Hailsham Town Council Offices, Market Street; and Wealden District Council Offices, Vicarage Lane.