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Last Updated: Friday, 14 July 2006, 08:10 GMT 09:10 UK
Amnesty nets over 100,000 knives
Handed-in knives being recycled
Knives are being turned into reinforcement rods
More than 100,000 weapons were handed to police in England, Scotland and Wales during a national knife amnesty.

During the five-week amnesty, which ended on 30 June, people could dispose of knives in secure bins without being prosecuted for possession.

The Association of Chief Police Officers' Tony Melville thanked everyone who made use of the amnesty.

"Every knife that is taken off our streets is one that cannot be used to kill, maim or intimidate," he said.

Mr Melville, Acpo's lead official on knife crime and assistant chief constable of Devon and Cornwall, said the move had helped make communities into safer places.

"The amnesty is certainly a step in the right direction and I hope it will prove to be a catalyst in changing the culture of routine knife possession, minimising the opportunity for the serious harm that can follow from the violent use of a knife," he added.

Crushed

Across England and Wales, a total of 89,864 weapons were handed in to police stations.

On Friday, the Metropolitan Police will recycle thousands of knives at a metal recycling plant in Hertfordshire.

Around 8,000 knives surrendered to police in the capital will be crushed and the metal will then be sent to Cardiff and used to make reinforcement rods for concrete blocks in new buildings.

To build on the success, the Home Office said it had made available 500,000 for police forces in England and Wales for measures such as high visibility police patrols in knife crime hotspots and weapons awareness programme in schools.

In Scotland, the knife amnesty was part of a year-long anti-violence campaign called Safer Scotland.

North of the border 12,645 knives and other weapons were surrendered during the five-week amnesty, it was announced last week. The 220 bins across the country contained an array of weapons including lock knives, machetes, swords, meat cleavers, axes and bayonets.

Awareness programmes

The government says it is encouraging police forces to reduce knife crime through measures including:

  • Weapon awareness programmes for schools and youth groups

  • Leaflet and poster campaigns aimed at young people

  • Working with retailers to prevent them selling knives to under 16s

  • Encouraging licensed premises to scan customers for knives

  • Greater use of magnetic searches in public places such as bus and train stations

  • Use of intelligence to target people thought to be carrying knives

    Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker said the government would continue working "in a number of ways" with police and local communities to tackle knife crime.

    "I think people are particularly pleased about the fact that schools will now have the opportunity to search for knives where there's a need to do that," he told BBC News.

    "It will help us in tackling knife crime in our communities and in our schools and is an important part of our strategy."




  • VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
    The knives handed in at a Birmingham police station



    SEE ALSO
    Stabbings continue during amnesty
    30 Jun 06 |  UK Politics
    New warning as knife amnesty ends
    30 Jun 06 |  Scotland
    In pictures: Knife amnesty
    16 Jun 06 |  In Pictures

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