Page last updated at 07:03 GMT, Monday, 17 November 2008

Father backs knife hand-in scheme

Knives seized by police
Knives and weapons can be handed in at 21 South Wales Police stations

The father of a teenager stabbed in the chest by a gang of youths is backing a two-week "hand-in" offered by a police force as a way to tackle knife crime.

People can leave knives and weapons at 21 South Wales Police stations until Sunday, 30 November.

Kevin Davenport said his 16-year-old son was lucky to be alive after he was attacked in July in Cardiff.

He said: "Nobody can be allowed to think such mindless and destructive actions are acceptable or excusable."

South Wales Police are one of one of nine across the UK holding knife "hand-ins" as part of the Home Office's Tackling Knives Action Programme (TKAP).

Unlike an amnesty, knives and weapons handed in can be forensically tested should police feel that would be useful.

By handing in a knife, not only is someone saving someone else's life, but they are also stopping themselves from destroying their own and that of their family around them
Kevin Davenport, father

South Wales Police said the area did not have a "knife culture" but figures showed a slight increase in knife crime offences over the past year.

There were more offences resulting in injury, although knife crime accounted for only 4% of the most serious violent crime.

Supt Paul James said: "We know that our streets are not overflowing with knives, but we believe that one solitary knife in the wrong hands is one knife too many.

"We would urge anyone who owns a knife to take this opportunity to make a stand against knife crime.

"The bottom line is that if your knife or weapon does not have a legal function and a legitimate purpose, there is no place for it.

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See a selection of knives handed in to police on previous occasions

"Knives which are in safe hands now could eventually find their way into the wrong hands. You can stop that from happening by getting them out of circulation altogether."

All knives put in the red bins set up in the police stations will be destroyed.

Mr Davenport is backing the initiative after his son was stabbed an inch to the left of his heart by a 15-year-old boy as he rode his bike through Cardiff city centre.

He said: "My son very nearly lost his life. He was attacked by a group of boys and was stabbed in the chest by one of them.

"We must make a stand against this type of behaviour. They must be made to realise the real consequences of their actions.

"By handing in a knife, not only is someone saving someone else's life, but they are also stopping themselves from destroying their own and that of their family around them."

South Wales Police are planning a number of enforcement and education initiatives to increase awareness about the threat of a knife crime culture.

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