THE Home Secretary paid a visit to Colchester town to see the progress police have been making with their anti-knife campaign.

For the penultimate day of action for Operation Sceptre, Colchester’s Community Policing Team were joined by the force’s Operational Support Group to raise awareness of the dangers of knife crime on the High Street and entrances to Castle Park.

Officers visited schools, emptied knife bins, and tested whether shops would sell knives to children in towns like Grays, Harlow and Basildon.

This morning (September 21), Home Secretary Priti Patel joined Sergeant Rob Temme from Colchester’s Community Policing Team to speak about efforts to combat knife crime in the town.

Sergeant Temme said: “It’s really important to ensure that work around Operation Sceptre is something that the public can see and feel like they’re a part of.

“We know that knife crime is a huge concern nationwide and across the county, it’s not just in Colchester, and we want to make sure we’re continuing to keep the public safe by doing visible work, as well as all the work we do behind the scenes.

“Knife crime has devastating effects on everyone – it’s not just limited to the person who chooses to carry a weapon. You may think it’s for your protection, but the ripple effect it can have on your life, someone you might harm or even kill, your loved ones and theirs, it becomes part of a bigger, more inexcusable picture.

“Today’s operation has been a great success.

“Around 250 people went through the knife arch into Castle Park, making sure it was a safe place for families to be in this wonderful weather, and we stopped more than 20 cars on the High Street, engaging with three of them, and arresting a 27-year-old man from St Osyth on suspicion of drug driving.

“We also spoke to around 20 members of the public to educate them about Operation Sceptre, which was invaluable.

“If you have intelligence about anyone carrying a weapon – please report it to us. If you’re carrying one and don’t know how to get rid of it safely, you can visit the knife bin outside our police station on Southway.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said they are doing everything in their power to keep communities safe.

Ms Patel said: “Essex Police’s week of action shows the importance of tough law enforcement to tackle knife crime – that’s why we are recruiting 20,000 police officers over the next three years.

“Our Offensive Weapons Act will also make it harder for knives and weapons to make their way onto our streets in the first place.”

For more information about helping someone who may be caught up in knife crime, you can visit or speak to the registered charity Only Cowards Carry.