Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary has seized 281 knives and made 7 knife related arrests during the national knife crime week known as Operation Sceptre.

Tackling knife crime and serious violence is a key priority for the Force, and Operation Sceptre, which is held twice a year, is an opportunity for efforts to be intensified to make communities safer.

The week of action ran between 13th to 19th May, and hundreds of knives were taken off the streets through the surrender bins, knife sweeps, knife arches, stop and searches, and warrants.

Activity Number of operations
Knife sweep 27
Surrender bins 25
Stop and Search 30
Warrants 6
Arrests 20
School engagements 95

Knife Surrender

There were 25 Knife surrender bins installed around the districts to provide a safe way for the public to anonymously dispose of knives and offensive weapons, as a result 264 weapons were disposed of. In Eastleigh and Isle of Wight, innovative schemes were set up whereby officers visited addresses to collect banned knives and weapons from individuals who were unable to access a surrender bin.

A full list of permanent surrender bin locations can be found here.

Knife Sweeps

Several knife sweeps were carried out in local areas such as parks and other open spaces where officers will check for any hidden or discarded knives or weapons, which will then be recovered. Overall, nine knives were found as part of these knife sweeps and were recovered, making the streets in our communities safer.

In Eastleigh, knife sweeps took place in Leigh Road Recreation Ground, Grantham Green, and Netley Recreational Ground using metal detectors and other equipment.


Throughout the week, 95 schools across the two counties were visited by officers with the intention of preventing these young people from becoming involved in serious violence by educating them about the dangers of carrying knives. As part of this, the Force worked closely with charities such as Yellow Brick Road ProjectsNo Limits and Motiv8.

In Southampton, officers went along to Wicketz in St Mary’s to play a game of cricket with local young people as part of an educational opportunity to engage with them and raise awareness of the dangers of knife crime. Events such as these are an important way to build relationships and trust, which lead to a better and safer community.

PC Steve Rogerson and the Yellow Brick Road Projects visited a number of schools including Test Valley School where they led an educational session on the laws, dangers and consequences of knife crime to young people. A speaker known as Lady Unchained, spoke of her experience of knife crime and going to prison, she encouraged them to choose the right path before it’s too late.

Test Purchasing

Test purchases were carried out at various retails outlets where knives are available to purchase across the districts, and a total of 28 tests were carried out and two businesses failed. In each of the 28 premises, business managers and staff were spoken with to educate them about the law and procedures for knife sales and we will continue to support and collaborate with businesses to make our communities safer.

Test purchasing is when officers or volunteers will visit a business and attempt to buy a knife to spot check age compliance with the sale of knives. It is illegal to sell a knife to anyone under the age of 18, and all businesses should be following the Challenge 25 law, this is when someone trying to purchase a knife who appears under 25 will be required to provide proof of age.

Diversion Visits

Visits were also made by police and jointly with partners to 40 individuals who have been involved in knife crime in the last two years to deliver education and diversion to them about sentences for knife crime offences, the dangers of carrying knives which makes you more likely to be a victim of knife crime and signposting them to services for support and information.

In 2021, The Offensive Weapons Act changed in legislation, banning the possession of any banned knife or weapon in a private setting, including in your own home.

A full list of the banned offensive weapons can be found online at Selling, buying and carrying knives and weapons – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Tactical lead for knife crime, Inspector Sarah Nicholson, said: ‘Officers across the Force have enhanced the focus on knife crime during Op Sceptre week, maximising opportunities to educate and reassure communities, pursuing individuals involved in knife crime and collaborating with partners.  The reduction and prevention of knife crime is a constant focus for the Force and the work will continue throughout the year in conjunction with the Violence Reduction Partnership to make our communities safer.’

We want to encourage communities and young people to report information about weapon-enabled crime and other offences either by reporting it to police on 101 or by giving that information anonymously through independent charity, Crimestoppers or their under 18s service called Fearless, which can be accessed via Fearless.org or by calling 0800 555 111.

Any parents and professionals concerned about knife crime in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight can visit Safe4Me for advice, help and support.