AN appeal has been launched to urge people to report knife crime after an increase in Runcorn recently.

From November 2016 to November 2017, there were 184 knife-related incidents in the town ranging from possession of blades to armed robberies and serious assaults with life-changing injuries for the victims.

No one was killed in the last year but there were a number of near misses including an officer saving the life of a man who had an artery severed in his left leg.

Runcorn Local Policing Unit set up Operation Abolish from January 2 to February 2 in response to the rise in knife-related crime and officers stopped and searched 85 people and found drugs or a weapon on 56 occasions.

The police has also been working with Halton Borough Council's trading Standards team to encourage traders who sell knives to take part in the "Challenge 25" campaign to people under 25 need to show ID before being sold a knife.

Chief Inspector Sarah Heath said: “We are getting worried about numbers of people carrying knives in Runcorn.

"Cheshire as a whole does not have a huge problem with knife crime but we are starting to see an uplift in incidents in Runcorn and we want to tackle the issue before it gets worse.

“If you carry a knife then you are much more likely to be involved in a knife crime incident.

"We want to persuade people that carrying a knife is dangerous and unnecessary because we cannot arrest our way out of this problem.

"Knives are easily available so we need to change attitudes towards them.

“Carrying a knife doesn’t make you safer and could land you in prison.

"It is not worth it.”

Officers will also be delivering sessions to schools to teach young people about the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife.

Runcorn Police Station was also one of the sites were people handed in knives as part of a nationwide operation in February to get people to stop carrying them.

There were 50 knives which were handed in across the county.

Sergeant Chris Maddocks, who is in charge of the knife crime campaign in Runcorn, added: “The general profile of the type of people carrying knives is that it is young men and teenagers.

“We want to encourage people to report people carrying knives so we can get more off the streets and make Runcorn a safer place."

If you know anyone who carries a knife, call the police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.