MORE than 320 knives have been handed in at police stations across Wiltshire as part of a knife amnesty.

Operation Sceptre, Wiltshire Police's knife crime awareness campaign and amnesty came to a close on Sunday, September 29, with a total of 321 knives handed in at police stations, churches and community centres.

During the fortnight, which ran from Monday 16 to Sunday 29 September, along with the opportunity to surrender knives without the fear of prosecution, there was a focus was on raising awareness of the impact and consequences knives can have when they are found in the wrong hands.

This year’s amnesty saw an expansion in the number of locations where members of the public could safely dispose of knives and bladed articles, and for the first time four churches from the Diocese of Salisbury and two community centres joined the amnesty, offering their buildings as a safe location for amnesty bins.

Sgt David Tippetts, who led on the amnesty across the county, said: "The key element for this year has been the community focus, which has been demonstrated with the additional locations for the amnesty and the educational work undertaken in secondary schools.

"Partnership work is key if we are to see a continued reduction in knife crime.

"A large part of which is the focus on education so young people are aware of the risks associated with carrying a knife or weapon.

"Op Sceptre gives us the opportunity to highlight our ongoing work that aims to safeguard children and the vulnerable and reduce the impact of knife related crime."

Operation Sceptre plays a key role in the annual crime prevention calendar with focused awareness week in both September and March.

ACC Maggie Blyth said: "Knife crime across Wiltshire remains stable.

"But that does not mean as a police force or a community we can be complacent.

"The opportunity for amnesties and enforcement play an important part in reducing immediate risk and harm in our communities.

"But we need to be thinking long term, and education and awareness is key.

"We need to work together to change the opinion of knives and where carrying a knife in a public place is completely unacceptable."

Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson said: "This has been another successful knife crime awareness campaign and amnesty – 321 is a good number.

"That means 321 fewer weapons on the streets of Wiltshire which could potentially do harm."

Operation Sceptre has now finished, but people can still hand in their knives and unwanted weapons at any time at their closest police station.