ALMOST 700 knives have been surrendered to police in Avon and Somerset since October 2016.

The force regularly take part in Operation Sceptre, a national initiative led by the Metropolitan Police, which aims to reduce the number of people carrying knives and educate young people about the dangers of carrying a knife.

In the latest effort to tackle knife crime, police have said permanent knife surrender binds will now be put in place across the force area, including in South Gloucestershire, where a bin will be installed in Patchway Police Station.

Temporary bins have previously been used, and since first taking part in the operation in October 2016, a total of 679 knives have been surrendered to Avon and Somerset Police.

Sergeant Mike Vass who co-ordinates much of the work on knife crime for Avon and Somerset, said: “The permanent bins are a welcome addition and will help support our work to reduce the number of knives on the streets.

“Every knife surrendered is one less knife out on the street, where they can and do cause serious harm. It’s not just the number of knives surrendered during these operations which is encouraging, but the type.

“There have been some nasty looking machetes and zombie knives left in the bins which are usually only carried by people wanting to hurt others.

“The surrender bins are just one of a number of actions we take to try and reduce the dreadful impact knives can have.

“Our work with young people is on-going, and will be stepped up this week in youth clubs, with local officers delivering hard hitting workshops which really bring home the impact knives can have not just on individuals, but on families and communities.

“We need to understand why young people are carrying knives and work to dispel the myth that knives are somehow cool or essential.

“We also want to let young people know that if they are worried that someone they know is carrying a knife, but are nervous about talking to the police, that they can contact Fearless - the Crimestoppers youth arm - anonymously and potentially help to save a life.”

Knife crime is on the increase, with a 39 per cent increase in possession offences in Avon and Somerset last year compared to 2016, and a 94 per cent increase since 2014.