NEIL Hamilton, AM for Mid & West Wales and Leader of UKIP Wales, is backing a national campaign to crack down on illegal possession of knives.

Mr Hamilton, Party Spokesman for Culture, is supporting Dyfed-Powys Police, who as part of Operation Sceptre, are taking part in a week of action to increase awareness about the dangers of carrying knives and the laws around buying and selling knives and blades.

The initiative runs from March 11 – 17 and during this time knife amnesty bins will also be placed around the force area for people to hand over knives or blades.

Mr Hamilton said: “The truly alarming increase in knife crime across the whole of the UK is extremely worrying, and I welcome any initiative to try and stamp this out.

“It is heartbreaking to see the families of victims on our screens and in the media day after day.

“Young people in particular must be made to understand that it is a serious crime even to carry a knife, let alone use it, and it could lead to drastic consequences.

“This is the second such campaign Dyfed-Powys Police has taken part in over the past six months which shows how the problem has escalated.

“Everyone must be vigilant and if members of the public have any information about someone carrying a knife, contact the police by calling 101.”

During September’s knife campaign, 169 knives were handed in as part of the amnesty.

This week, officers will be using their powers to stop and search individuals who are believed to be carrying knives.

Educational visits to schools, colleges and youth clubs are also planned, to raise awareness of the dangers of carrying knives.

Shops and businesses are being asked to put in robust controls on the sale of blades, such as kitchen knives, as part of the operation.

Superintendent for specialist operations Craig Templeton said: “While Dyfed-Powys has not experienced the high volume of knife-related incidents seen in other forces, we will be supporting our police colleagues nationally by taking part in Operation Sceptre.

“We will work with residents, partner agencies, the business community and schools to reduce the number of knives on our streets.”

A knife amnesty will run from March 11 to 17 with amnesty bins at certain police stations around the force. No questions will be asked at the point of surrender, and no paperwork will be taken.

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