KNIFE arches will be used at train stations across the county this week as part of a national crackdown in a bid to get weapons off the streets.

Essex Police is taking part in Operation Sceptre - along with all 44 forces in England and Wales - which is a week of action to building on the work officers already do to tackle serious violence.

And police bosses have insisted this will see a longer period of action designed to target knife crime.

As well as knife arches in a bid to stop criminals using the rail network, weapon sweeps will also take place to try and discover weapons which have been hidden for later use.

There will also be knife crime awareness events with community safety groups like Only Cowards Carry and work with schools, colleges and shop owners who will be told about the importance of challenging underage customers and reminded of the law around selling blades.

Nationally, the latest figures from the ONS show an eight per cent rise in the number of offences involving knives or sharp weapons, taking the figure to its highest level since comparable data began to be collected in 2011.

In Essex there was a 35 per cent increase in violence against the person offences for the 12-months to the end of January 2019 with 54,064 offences compared with 40,032 for the same period the previous year.

The county also saw a 12.6 per cent increase in the number of possession of weapon offences with 2,014 offences in the 12-months to January 2019 compared with 1,868 for the same period the previous year.

Essex Police’s Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Paul Wells said: “Sadly, we’ve seen an increase in knife nationally and an increase in violent crime here in Essex – and I understand this affects how safe people feel.

“However, it’s also important to note that less than eight people in every 1,000 here in Essex will be a victim of a violent crime with injury.

“Driving down violent crime remains one of our top priorities, but tackling the underlying issues is complex and is a battle that we as a community must fight together.

“We know knife and violent crime is closely associated with gangs and drugs, but also with domestic abuse.

“Those who are involved in gangs or organised crime carry knives and other weapons because of the threat of violence that hangs over them. Arresting them is not always a deterrent.

“We need to educate our children about whether that’s the kind of life they want to lead – carrying weapons, always looking over their shoulder and being not only at risk of getting hurt but facing the consequences of hurting someone else.

“Tackling knife crime involves more than just enforcement.

"It is a community responsibility, which is why we work with other organisations within the criminal justice system, our community safety partnerships, charities, schools and community groups to try and educate people to prevent knife crime happening in the first place.

“Information is also really key. If you know someone who carries a weapon or have information about drugs or gangs, for example, tell us.

“We can then take action against those people.”

We also encourage young people worried about knife crime to find out about

For more information about knife crime in Essex, visit