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Hart officers carry out test purchasing operations as part of Op Sceptre

Officers from the Hart South Neighbourhood Policing Team have carried out test purchasing operations this week as part of the national campaign against knife crime - Operation Sceptre.

Using a teenage volunteer, the officers assessed whether under-18s were able to purchase knives from six stores in the Fleet area.

Four of the stores passed the test and refused to sell a knife to the volunteer. However, two stores sold a knife to the 17-year-old.

Police are working with Trading Standards and our enquiries are ongoing.

In addition to this #OpSceptre operation, officers have attended secondary schools in the Hart South area to provide presentations and education in relation to the dangers of knives and blades and the offences that can be committed.

Meanwhile, following a call from a member of the public, officers located a knife in the Centre Green play area in Eversley. The knife has been recovered by police for disposal.

Helen Wentworth, High Harm Sergeant for Hart and Rushmoor, said: “The focus of this operation was to ensure that our communities are kept as safe as possible and to provide education in relation the dangers and threats posed in relation to knife crime.

“I was very pleased that four of the six stores we visited passed the test purchasing operation, robustly challenging the purchase as they should.

“However, I am disappointed to see that two of the stores failed. We will be working with the stores and Trading Standards moving forward in order to educate staff members further and to protect the community and our young people.

“We will continue to work with schools to highlight the consequences of knife crime to young people.

“We know that knife-related crime can have a devastating impact on communities. Our commitment to tackling these issues is ongoing.

“I would also like to remind the public to share information with us, which can be done via a number of means including online and anonymously via CrimeStoppers.”

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Abe Hawken
(Police, Corporate Communications Officer, Hampshire and Isle of Wight)

Neighbourhood Alert Cyber Essentials