We’re launching Operation Eastwood - a police-led partnership initiative to challenge and discourage the carrying of knives by young people in Cleveland – today (Monday 9th November).
Although youth knife crime is low in our force area, we are seeing a rising trend consistent with the national picture.
Operation Eastwood is a prevention and safeguarding initiative which will see our Early Intervention Co-ordinators (and Local Authority Children and Family Services where appropriate), work with young people and their families where it’s been established that although no crime’s been committed, the youngster may be putting themselves or others at risk through their association with knives.
Officers will meet the young person and their parents/carers to share concerns, explain the risks of knives and offer positive support.
Community Safety Chief Inspector Scott Cowie said: “Intelligence on young people carrying knives will always be investigated to establish whether a crime has occurred and if it has, the case will be processed as usual through criminal channels - for example by referring it to the Youth Offending Service or by charging directly to court.
“We’ll also take part, as always, in other knife crime initiatives such as the national Operation Sceptre which runs this week however Operation Eastwood, our proactive, swift and informal response to knife crime with its focus on early intervention and safeguarding, will continue to run indefinitely.
“We also hope to gain an understanding of why young people may feel the need to carry a knife and to gain a fuller picture of the situation locally to help plan our future response to the issue.”