POLICE have searched a park for knives.

Northwich Local Policing Unit made the trip over to Winsford Town Park on Monday morning (May 13) to conduct a knife sweep.

It comes as the nationwide Operation Sceptre campaign gets underway, aiming to reduce the impact of knife crime.

Superintendent Andrew Blizard, Cheshire Police's lead for knife crime, said: “In the past 12 months we have seen that crime involving knives has become a growing issue on the national stage, so participating in Operation Sceptre is an excellent opportunity for us to highlight the outstanding work our officers put in daily to keep Cheshire weapons-free.

“We are particularly proud that, when compared to our fellow home forces, knife crime in Cheshire remains low; but we are seeing a considerable number of people across the county in possession of knives and bladed weapons. This is something that we as a force will not tolerate.

“By carrying a knife, you are much more likely to be involved in knife crime and it is only a matter of time before you, or someone else, sustains a life-changing, or even fatal, injury.

“Over the course of this week, we will also be working with our partner organisations, including local authorities, charities, third-sector organisations, youth representatives and community groups as we continue to keep Cheshire a hostile environment for anyone who chooses to pick up a blade."

Northwich Guardian: Operation Sceptre runs from Monday (May 13) to Sunday (May 19)Operation Sceptre runs from Monday (May 13) to Sunday (May 19) (Image: Northwich Police)

Out of the 42 police forces in England and Wales, Cheshire is the ninth lowest in terms of knife crime.

However, the force has seen a 5.9 per cent increase in knife-related offences in the 12 months to March 2024, when compared with the previous year.

This rise is partially the result of Cheshire Police’s continued proactive stop-and-search approach, meaning more arrests are being made.

As part of Operation Sceptre, which runs until Sunday (May 19), enforcement and engagement initiatives will take place across the county.

Alongside knife sweeps, officers will execute warrants, step up patrols in hotspot areas and deploy knife surrender bins.

Police will also be conducting test purchase operations at shops to ensure potentially lethal weapons are not falling into the wrong hands.