Young people are being placed at the heart of a Bedfordshire Police week of action on knife crime as officers encourage everyone across the county to go knife free.
The force is taking part in the national Operation Sceptre week of action, with activities due to take place across Bedfordshire.
Police will be carrying out weapons sweeps, patrols and warrants to tackle knife crime, as well as emptying the county’s 11 weapons bins.
But the force will also focus on prevention and raising awareness throughout the next seven days.
Its dedicated Education and Diversion team is going in to schools to deliver talks on knife crime.
The force will be running a #KnifeFreeBedfordshire youth takeover on its social media accounts on Thursday and Friday (18 and 19 November), sharing content designed and made by young people from the Bedford Borough youth cabinet and Central Bedfordshire youth parliament.
This includes podcasts, Q&As with police officers and other professionals, as well as songs and poems written and performed by young people.
Adverts will also be running on platforms like Snapchat and YouTube throughout the week.
The force is also encouraging visitors to the ‘Blunt Blades’ art exhibit at The Higgins Bedford. This exhibit opened last week and uses knives seized by Bedfordshire Police.
Detective Chief Inspector Katie Dounias said: “Knife crime can have a devastating impact on our communities.
“It is vitally important that we do everything we can to stop this scourge on our streets. This includes so much more than just making arrests and running investigations into incidents.
“By working with groups like the Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit, charities, schools, local councils and young people themselves, we can help raise awareness of this issue, encourage better choices and show people down a path to a brighter future.”
For more information about knife crime, including the location of the Bedfordshire Police knife bins and support services for those affected by knife crime, please visit the force’s knife crime pages.