POLICE are cracking down on knife crime targeting individuals suspected of carrying weapons.

Operation Sceptre is part of a national campaign which runs from today, Monday, February 12, until Sunday.

Latest figures show that Runcorn and Widnes have a higher number of knife crime incidents compared to the rest of Cheshire.

Surrender bins will be available at police stations in both towns for people to surrender knives throughout this week.

Police and crime commissioner for Cheshire David Keane, said: “Carrying a knife is a crime which brings that added risk that a minor issue can escalate into something much more serious and potentially life changing.

“The damage caused by knives, not just to the victim and their families, but also to the wider community, can be devastating. No one deserves to live in fear of knife crime in their area and we will be using intelligence to target certain areas.

“Consequently, we are keen to reach out to members of the public who may have information about knife carriers, and I would encourage anyone with information to have the confidence to come forward and report it.”

Officers will be using their powers to stop and search individuals who are believed to be carrying knives.

The focus will be on people who think is it ok to carry a knife in public.

Family and friends who know someone who is determined to carry a knife could save a life by reporting it to police.

Assistant Chief Constable Sacha Hatchett said: “It is illegal to have a knife in your possession in a public place without a reason and if you break that law you could face a prison sentence.

“We will have increased visibility in the areas with the highest number of recorded incidents. Officers will also be working to stop the sale of knives to under 18s at part of this initiative."

Retailers are being asked to put in robust controls on the sale of blades, such as kitchen knives.

Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.