Anyone carrying a knife is being urged to hand it in anonymously by placing it in one of the Knife Amnesty bins that can be found at locations in Margate and Ramsgate. The four, distinctive orange bins have been placed in Margate at the top of the High Street and on Edgar Road in Cliftonville, and in Ramsgate at the train station and on Albion Hill.
Installed on 31 March 2020, the knife amnesty bins were organised in partnership with the police as part of Operation Sceptre, a nationwide initiative set up to tackle Knife Crime.
The bins are funded by the Violence Reduction Unit. They form part of a wider strategic approach to the reduction of knife crime in the Thanet area. To date a total of 40 knives have been placed in the bins since they were installed. There were 29 retrieved on the first collection and a further 11 on the second.
Kent Police has also carried out test purchases in shops and conducted knife sweeps of local parks to search for weapons that may be hidden or discarded in undergrowth.
Cllr Helen Whitehead, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Safety said: “The work that the Thanet Community Safety Unit is doing aims to engage our communities and change the narrative. Knife crime ruins lives. People carry knives for all kinds of reasons and these amnesty bins offer a no questions asked route to giving them up. I would personally urge anyone who is carrying a knife, or knows someone else who is doing so to stop and think about the possible consequences. The amnesty bins are there specifically for you to dispose of the weapon safely.”
The approach also includes outreach and education so that people understand the possibly fatal consequences of carrying such a weapon. The amnesty bins allow individuals to hand in their weapons anonymously and see knives removed from the streets in a safe and secure way. The bins which have already been emptied twice remain in place but may be moved to other locations in the district in future.
Inspector Dan Carter, Thanet Community Safety Unit Kent Police said: “Any knife handed in to us is one which cannot be used in crime and I am pleased with the number of weapons which have been removed from the streets of Thanet.
“Levels of knife crime in Kent remain low compared to other parts of the country, but Kent Police is not complacent and is committed to tackling knife crime and removing dangerous weapons from our communities.
“We will continue to work with our partners to tackle the issue, bring offenders to justice and challenge the culture that leads to people carrying knives.
“I would urge anyone carrying a bladed object, or who knows that a family member or friend is carrying one, to report it or hand it in to us and make the district safer for everyone.’
Matthew Scott, Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “While Kent has not experienced the same levels of serious violence as some other areas in recent years, we have our own unique challenges. Some of these challenges are linked to county lines activity operating out of London and other cities, with young people being exploited to act as drugs mules.
“Our Violence Reduction Unit was set up last year to bring partners together to tackle these issues. We invested money I received from Government in various projects focused on crime prevention – including this one – and we have received a further £1,160,000 to spend on work across Kent in 2020/21.”