A week-long knife amnesty is underway in North West Wales.
Special amnesty bins will be placed at three police stations in the region as part of Operation Spectre, a nationwide week of action aimed at cracking down on criminals who carry bladed weapons.
Several nightspots in north Gwynedd have also been given special knife-detection wands.
North Wales Police say almost 1700 knives have been handed in since July 2017 – and anyone who surrenders blades during the amnesty, which ends next Sunday, will not face prosecution.
But Arfon Jones, the Police and Crime Commissioner, urged the public, and young people in particular to report any concerns they have about knife crime.
He said: ”The rise in the statistics for violent crime is a general trend across the UK and it is important to remember than North Wales is still one of the safest places to live and work.”
”Another important factor to remember is that there have been changes in the recording methods of some categories of crime, including violent crime, and this has also had an impact in skewing the statistics.”
”Nevertheless, it is vitally important that we tackle this scourge and I know it is a priority for North Wales Police. The message is clear. Knives and dangerous. They can maim and even kill people.”
Last year, door staff at ten pubs and clubs across North Wales were issued with the first batch of handheld anti-knife detectors.
More wands have since been purchased by the Police and Crime Commissioner, and will be issued to staff at four Bangor nightspots – Academi, Castle, Cube and The Waterloo Inn – as well as Copa in Caernarfon.
Temporary Detective Inspector Tecwyn Green, Operation Spectre co-ordinator, said: ”Carrying knives is totally and utterly unacceptable and we hope that introducing these wands will not only act as a deterrent, but they’ll also reassure people who are planning an enjoyable night out.”
”All licenced premises that are being given these wands have been extremely positive and are pleased to play their part in the national campaign. These venues rarely have issues relating to knife crime, yet they fully understand the importance of having a preventative initiative such as this one in place.”
”We want to ensure residents are safe from knife crime in their communities so we are pleased to be promoting our week-long knife amnesty where people can hand in knives without fear of punishment.”
Unwanted knives can be taken to Bangor, Caernarfon and Holyhead police stations and disposed. Community police officers will also be visiting schools throughout the region to give presentations on knife crime.
T/D.I Green added: ”We want to ensure residents are safe from knife crime in their communities so we are pleased to be promoting our week-long knife amnesty where people can hand in knives without fear of punishment.”