South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit supports Operation Sceptre

The South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) is supporting Operation Sceptre, a national week of police action on knife crime. The bi-annual operation, which last ran in November, will run from 15th-21st May.

During the week of action, South Yorkshire Police will be working with partners across the county as it intensifies its work to tackle this issue, delivering targeted activity and operations to disrupt criminal activity and knife crime.

Alongside policing operations, the force will be sharing proactive communications, and delivering education on the impact knife crime has on victims, perpetrators, families, and communities.

The VRU will be supporting the week of action through community visits and engagements, as well as by sharing key messages on its social media channels.

Graham Jones, Head of the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit said: “At the VRU, we recognise the impact that knife crime has, and the importance of working closely with South Yorkshire partners and communities to tackle this issue.

“That’s why the VRU is working closely with partner organisations to deliver knife crime education guidance for schools.

“The Unit has also previously funded a range of different projects which aim to support young people, providing positive diversionary activities, boosting mental health, and preventing involvement in violence.

“Operation Sceptre is another important part of our efforts to tackle knife crime in South Yorkshire, and I’m pleased that the VRU is supporting this national week of police action.”

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “As Police and Crime Commissioner, my ambition is for South Yorkshire to be a place in which people both feel safe and are safe.

“Knife crime has a devastating impact not only on the immediate victims and their families but also on our communities more broadly. It causes people to feel less safe. This is why tackling it is a key part of my ambition.

“This is particularly so in light of recent ONS statistics, which showed an 8% increase in ‘knife and sharp instrument offences’ in South Yorkshire in the 12 months from January to December 2022.

“Intensification weeks such as Operation Sceptre form a part of the police effort to disrupt criminality.

“It is additionally important to work across organisations to deliver education in an effort to change social and cultural attitudes which contribute to knife carrying and crime in the first place.

“I especially want to help young people to realise that carrying a knife does not make them any safer and may well lead them quite quickly into trouble.

“The work of the VRU and other partners is important in that regard.”