CHESHIRE Police is taking action on knife crime this week.

Operation Sceptre runs from March 11 to 17 aiming to reduce the impact of knife crime in communities – the third such campaign in the past year.

Cheshire still has one of the lowest rates of knife crime in the country, but the county has seen an increase in violent offending which is part of a national trend.

Action will include patrol officers using stop and search powers, visiting the homes of juvenile offenders, taking part in knife sweeps, visiting shops and bars, and speaking to schoolchildren.

David Keane, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, said: “We’ve seen the devastating impact knife crime can have on victims and their families up-and-down the country. There has also been a number of incidents in Cheshire where people have lost their lives or been seriously injured in vicious knife attacks.

“Across Cheshire, we’ve also seen an increase in the number of individuals who are stashing knives in public areas, in places like bushes and overgrown areas. Police in Cheshire will also not tolerate this behaviour and are already working with partners to carry-out knife sweeps to remove knives from local communities.

“I am working with Cheshire police to reduce the number of dangerous weapons on our streets. The message we need to send to our communities is that carrying a knife or concealing a knife is a crime and the use of dangerous weapons can quickly escalate a minor issue into something much more serious and potentially life threatening.”

Last week, Mr Keane criticised Prime Minister Theresa May's comment that is 'no direct correlation' between cuts to police numbers and the significant rise in knife attacks across the country.

Ch Con Darren Martland added that the force would welcome more government support, saying officers 'are now expected to do far more, with far less'.

Police say family and friends are also a key part in the operation, by reaching out to or reporting those who are determined to carry a knife.

Supt Richard Rees said: “The importance of this message getting across to young people has been highlighted by the tragic events we have seen in the local and national media recently which is why we are visiting youth offenders and schools to try and drive home the dangers of knives.

"We will also be using our powers of stop and search where appropriate.

“Our officers will be working with shopkeepers to stop the sale of knives to under 18s as part of the initiative. The law is quite simple. If you carry a knife in public, without a reasonable excuse, you are facing a prison sentence.”

Cheshire Constabulary is working extremely hard to eradicate this crime and is working in partnership with Crimestoppers, an independent charity that encourages anyone with information to contact them anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Alternatively call Cheshire Police on 101.