A MAJOR player in the battle against knife crime has hailed the success of a police campaign that saw the number of knifes handed in more than double when compared with the previous year.

Cumbria Police yesterday revealed 282 “potential weapons” had been handed in to the force, which is up on a total of 113 surrendered last autumn.

Last week people from across the county anonymously handed in their knives and other potential weapons to police stations in Workington, Carlisle, Barrow, Penrith and Kendal.

The force insists the operation is proactive rather than reactive.

Superintendent Mark Pannone said: “We aren’t seeing an increase in knife crime here in Cumbria, but obviously what’s happening nationally is having an effect and people are more aware of knife crime, which is why we had Operation Sceptre this year at this time whilst people are aware of knife crime and the dangers of it, to make sure where we have weapons in the community that aren’t needed in the community - or shouldn’t be in the community - we have asked the public to hand them in.

“That is why we’ve had such a success because the public have really responded to the harm caused elsewhere in the country around knife crime, hence the haul we have got - which is a significant amount of weapons.”

The Supt is happy with the results.

“I’m pleased every one of these 282 knives and other weapons are not in the public area where they could cause harm. These aren’t just kitchen knives, these are knives that have either been bought for an unlawful purpose, or were held probably a bit unresponsively, or are old trophies from war or other places.

“There’s no place in society for knives other than for the proper usage and most of these would never have a real or a genuine use and therefore it’s great they are off the streets.”

Officers across the county are acutely aware of the dangers they face patrolling the streets.

“Everytime a police officer goes on patrol they are aware they could come into a life-threatening situation and unfortunately when knives are involved that situation occurs.

“Protecting police officers and also the wider public is exactly why we’ve done this to stop the temptation of knives, but Cumbria is a safe place, we don’t have a knife crime culture, we don’t have a gang culture and we want to keep it that way - which is why we have these preventative campaigns to take knives off the streets.”

Supt Pannone added: “No knife can be carried in public, unless it is a small, folding pocket knife, with a small blade from point to hilt.”