Anyone caught carrying a knife in Aylesbury Vale could be locked up for four years warn police

‘Tackling knife crime is a top priority for Thames Valley Police and I want to reassure residents that the possession and carrying of knives will not be tolerated’
Thames Valley Police have issued a stern warning about carrying knivesThames Valley Police have issued a stern warning about carrying knives
Thames Valley Police have issued a stern warning about carrying knives

Anybody caught carrying a knife in Aylesbury Vale will be prosecuted immediately and could face up to four years behind bars, police have warned today (Tuesday).

The stern words come as Thames Valley Police rolls out its anti-knife crime initiative Operation Deter across the entire force area.

The operation was launched in Milton Keynes a year ago, following four fatal stabbing committed over a 13-week period. It was then rolled out in Aylesbury last August .

Today Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Barber said: “Tackling knife crime is a top priority for Thames Valley Police and I want to reassure residents that the possession and carrying of knives will not be tolerated.

“We have been steadily rolling out Op Deter across the Thames Valley. This tough approach has already shown positive signs since the initial roll-out in Milton Keynes last year.”

Operation Deter is a zero-tolerance approach to knife crime, seeking swift charge and remand decisions to those who carry knives. It focuses on prosecution, intervention and prevention.

The approach begins with a focus on early intervention and prevention to stop young people being drawn into crime and violence in the first place.

Then, the force delivers proactive policing to target people who carry and use knives and to police the hotspots where violence occurs.

The unlawful possession of a knife is covered by Section 139 of the Criminal Justice Act (1988), which is the offence of having an article with a blade or pointed in a public place.

This is an ‘either way’ offence, which carries a maximum sentence of six months’ imprisonment or a fine in the Magistrates’ Court, or up to four years’ imprisonment in the Crown Court.

The key objective of Op Deter is that any knife possession offences are proactively charged and remanded to court while the suspect is still in custody.

Following the charge, the custody sergeant will then take a more robust approach to bail.

The aim is to send a clear message to those routinely carrying a knife in the Thames Valley, that this will simply not be tolerated.

Since its initial launch in Milton Keynes, 774 adults have been arrested for simple possession in the areas where Op Deter has come into force.

Of these, 37% have been charged and remanded with 6% charged and bailed – more than 300 cases.

Force lead for Op Deter, Detective Chief Inspector Rachel Taylor, said: “We will seek to charge those carrying weapons on the day of their arrest and remand them in custody with a view to making sure perpetrators face the very real prospect of going straight to jail for having a weapon.

“If you have any information or know of someone who is carrying a knife, you can report this to us on 101 or online, or for 100% anonymity, by calling the Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”