More than 2,000 suspects have been arrested and 10,000 knives taken off the streets after police carried out a week-long national knife-crime crackdown.
Codenamed Operation Sceptre, the crackdown included weapons sweeps, knife amnesties and targeted stop and searches between November 9 and 15.
Just under 10,000 knives were handed in as part of amnesties, while officers seized 723 more as part of the operation.
More than 2,000 suspects were taken into custody, with over 500 of those arrested for alleged offences specifically related to knife crime, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said in a statement.
Police say the operation ‘sends a clear message that we will not tolerate knife crime.’
Officers from all 43 police forces in England and Wales worked with the British Transport Police on the operation.
Border Force was also involved and received more than 1,000 referrals about people trying to import prohibited weapons.
NPCC deputy assistant commissioner Graham McNulty said: ‘The harm caused to families and communities through the tragic loss of life relating to knife crime is devastating and that is why focusing on this issue remains a top priority for policing.
‘Despite the challenges and the extra demand placed on the service as a result of the ongoing pandemic, the sheer number of arrests and seizures made across England and Wales as part of Operation Sceptre last week sends a clear message that we will not tolerate knife crime.’
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics in August show that, over the last 10 years, offences involving a knife have increased in every police force in England and Wales.
In a third of forces, knife crime has at least doubled and over the past 10 years, there has been a 16% increase in homicides involving a knife, while knife-point robberies are up 31%.
In response, the Government has proposed giving police powers to stop and search people with knife convictions without the need for further suspicion.
The Home Office is proposing to use serious violence reduction orders (SVROs) to increase the chances of repeat offenders being caught and imprisoned.
It comes after figures from the Office for National Statistics showed knife-crime in England and Wales soared to its highest ever level last year.
Police recorded 45,627 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument, with a third of all offences recorded in London.
This is an average rate of 125 knife crimes per day between last January and December – 49 per cent higher than when comparable recording began in 2011.
Home Office figures for last year also show that only one in every 14 offences led to court proceedings – less than half the rate five years ago.
In England and Wales last year, there were 435 attempted murders involving a knife or a sharp instrument, and 4,151 threats to kill involving a knife.
Over 20,000 cases of assault with injury and assault with intent to cause serious harm with a knife, and 19,943 cases of robbery, were also recorded.