POLICE have launched a knives amnesty in a bid to save lives and reduce injuries.

Last year, there were 61 reported knife crimes in the Salisbury division, which was the only area in Wiltshire to see an increase in the number of incidents involving blades.

The amnesty, which started today and runs until June 30, is part of a nationwide initiative targeted at 14- to 30-year-olds, particularly those who carry weapons out of fear.

Amnesty bins will be set up at Salisbury and Amesbury police stations, where those who carry knives will be encouraged to take their weapons to be disposed of safely.

Anyone who carries a blade and wants to hand it in should wrap the weapon in cardboard and tape, so that it can be surrendered easily.

An awareness campaign will run alongside the amnesty and posters are being sent to every secondary school.

Organisers hope to send out a strong message about the devastating effect of carrying knives.

"Taking knives off our streets will cut crime and save lives," said Inspector Nick Bancroft, of the community safety department at Wiltshire police.

"These weapons cause harm not only to the victims but to their families, friends and local communities.

"We hope this amnesty will be a catalyst in changing the culture of routine knife possession and minimise the opportunity for the serious harm that can follow."

Anyone caught in possession of a knife will not be able to use the amnesty as an excuse and officers will want to see proof that the blade was about to be surrendered.

The amnesty does not cover weapons used in crimes or make offenders immune from prosecution if they have broken the law.

Police hope that friends and relatives of those who carry weapons might come forward to provide information in order to protect their loved ones.

"We recognise that many young people are reluctant to involve the police and we would appeal to them to use Crimestoppers one knife off the street is one fewer that can be used to cause serious injury or even worse," added Insp. Bancroft. "A large number of knife-related crimes go unreported "Carrying a knife is not an effective form of self-defence.

"There is a fine line between carrying a knife and actually using one.

"You are both a potential killer and a potential victim knives wreck lives."

A special website has been launched by Wiltshire Crimestoppers to support the amnesty, www.gameover4knives.


Anyone with information about someone who carries a blade should call Crimestoppers, on 0800 555111.