HAMPSHIRE police have taken more than 200 knives off the street as part of Operation Sceptre.

In total, 140 knives were recovered and seized, and 97 were discarded in surrender bins across the county as police stepped up action against knife crime

Officers carried out test purchases of knives from retailers, as well as high visibility patrols, local-engagement activity, weapon sweeps and use of surrender bins.

Knife crime lead for Hampshire Constabulary, acting Sup Claire Taylor, said: “Even though levels of knife crime in Hampshire and Isle of Wight are low, there is a continuing concern nationally around knife crime, which has seen an increase following a downward trend.

“In our week of action operation we targeted habitual offenders in crime hotspots, resulting in arrests and weapons seized.

“We also worked with Trading Standards to identify retailers who are failing to meet their responsibilities under the law on selling.

“We have been supporting the Knife Free campaign led by the Home Office, encouraging under-18s to not carry weapons.”

Over the course of the week, Hampshire police recovered 26 knives from 55 weapon sweeps, and six retail premises failed test purchases from the 25 tested. The force also carried 50 engagement and education events.

Ms Taylor added: “We take knife crime very seriously, and as part of my role sitting on the National Working Group, we will be working with our partners to look at best practice across the country to reduce access to and the use of knives in crime.”