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Pair arrested for attack as major knife offensive launched in Coventry

Coventry Police has launched a major knife crime offensive as part of a national operation aimed at purging the streets of knives and protecting young people.

The week-long push (11-17 March) sees local cops team-up with additional officers drafted in from West Midlands Police to target key areas of the city and using police powers to search people they suspect could be carrying a weapon.

Other tactics include weapons sweeps of parks searching for hidden knives, metal-detecting operations in busy public spaces, checks on retailers to ensure they’re not selling knives to children, plus knife arches and educational inputs at secondary schools.

Yesterday’s activity saw officers out in force across Hillfields and the city centre, plus Tile Hill, Willenhall and Binley areas.

Two knives were found hidden in Primrose Hill Park, Hillfields, and three knives, a machete and a hammer in Edgwick Park during weapons sweeps, while officers used stop and search powers to check three people.

Five knives and a machete were found by officers searching parks in Coventry
Five knives and a machete were found by officers searching parks in Coventry

And a man and woman were arrested at 3pm in Corporation Street after officers were alerted to a man having been attacked with a pair of scissors. 

A man aged 27 was arrested on suspicion of wounding – as the 55-year-old victim suffered a small puncture wound to his chest – and the 29-year-old woman detained for assault and theft after a stolen laptop was found in her handbag. They remain in police custody. 

Coventry Police Superintendent Phil Healy, said: “This is a really intensive week of activity with officers across the city working on knife crime initiatives – from schools inputs warning of the dangers of carrying knives to lock-downs, drones operations and monitoring of known knife offenders.

“Knife crime has a devastating impact on young lives, families and communities… and that devastation is something we’ve seen too often in recent months in the city.

“We need to drive out this culture of people feeling comfortable carrying knives or feeling the need to carry knives for protection.

“Violent crime in Coventry, particularly knife crime, has been made a West Midlands Police force priority. It means we can tap into extra police resources to help tackle the issue and run more operations aimed at catching offenders and safeguarding young people.”

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The national campaign – codenamed Operation Sceptre – sees all 44 police forces in England and Wales deploying an array of tactics to seize weapons, catch offenders and protect the public.

In February 2018, Op Sceptre resulted in more than 600 arrests nationally – almost half for knife-related offences – while more than 4,000 weapons were seized.

But Supt Healy stressed that tackling knife crime cannot be done through policing alone and that partner agencies and communities also have a key role to play.

He added: “We can’t arrest our way out of this problem. We need parents to speak to their children – they should know where they are and who they are mixing with – and challenge them if they have suspicions over their behaviour. 

“As part of our response to this corrosive issue we are actively working with our local communities, voluntary sector, faith groups and other partners to see what more we can do together to deal with the root causes.” 

Anyone who suspects someone routinely carries a knife is urged to report their concerns to police.

They should call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 – callers won’t be asked their name – or contact West Midlands Police on 101 or Live Chat at west-midlands.police.uk between 8am to midnight.