Knife surrender surgeries are set to be rolled out across Cheshire thanks to partnership work between Cheshire Police and Sigma Waste.
Last November as part of Operation Sceptre, PCSO Tony Spruce came up with the innovative idea of knife surrender surgeries at convenience stores and community centres across Warrington.
The idea behind the scheme was to give people a convenient, safe and secure way to dispose of any unwanted knives, helping to ensure that they never get into the wrong hands.
As part of the scheme, PCSO Spruce approached local Warrington business Sigma Waste who agreed to supply a surrender bin.
During the two-week trial more than 500 knives were handed in at surgeries across Warrington.
The surgeries also provided residents with the opportunity to engage with officers about concerns and issues in their communities.
PCSO Tony Spruce said, “Many people have unwanted knives at home that they don’t know what to do with or how to get rid of them safely – which is where surrender surgeries come in.
“While knife surrender bins are not a new idea, they’re usually placed in police stations which means that they rely on people taking time out to visit the stations and dispose of any unwanted knifes.
“The idea behind the surrender surgeries is that they’re located in the heart of the community – like in local supermarkets and community centres.
“During our two week trial we spoke to so many people about knife crime – and many of those we engaged with actually returned the same day with unwanted knives from their homes.
“In told we received more than 500 knives through the surrender surgeries – ranging from a World War 1 Bayonet Sword to a butchers knife.”
Following the success Sigma Waste have now agreed to supply another eight surrender bins that will be distributed across the force helping to mirror the success achieved in Warrington.
Natalie Kirkby, from Sigma Waste, said, “As a local Warrington business, Sigma Waste is honoured to be a part of the ‘fight against knife crime scheme’ alongside Cheshire Police.
“We hope that this will lead to a further decrease in knife crime in Cheshire and will encourage other counties in the UK to take the same stance.
“Furthermore, having seen the success achieved in Warrington, we have also had enquiries from both the Metropolitan Police and Greater Manchester Police about potentially introducing the scheme in their areas.”
Chief Inspector Sarah Heath said, “Firstly I would like to express my gratitude to Sigma Waste for their generosity, I’d also like to thank PCSO Spruce for coming up with such an innovative scheme which can now be rolled out across the force.
“This partnership approach with local business and partners is the reason that Cheshire is now the second lowest force in the country for knife crime.
“We have seen real success in this area, but despite this we must not be content and knife crime will continue to be a priority for us as we are all well aware of the devastating impact it has on our communities.”
Image: (L-R) Paul Shaw, from Stigma Waste, CI Sarah Heath, Natalie Kirkby from Stigma Waste and PCSO Tony Spruce