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Knife amnesty campaign comes to Chelmsford and Braintree

Chelmsford and Braintree have become the latest Essex towns to launch knife amnesty campaigns.

In partnership with the charity Only Cowards Carry, which has spearheaded the introduction of knife amnesty bins in the county, Essex Police, the Essex Police and Crime Commissioner, Chelmsford City Council and Braintree District Council, the bins have now been placed in the centres of both towns.

Specially designed, the knife bins have been provided free of charge by the British Ironwork Centre, and they will enable the safe disposal of all bladed items handed in as part of the amnesty.

The introduction of the bins in both towns, follows bins being placed in Clacton and Colchester in January this year and a knife amnesty trial in Tending in 2014.

So far around 300 knives have already been taken off the streets in Clacton.

Caroline Shearer of Only Cowards Carry – who set up the charity following the fatal stabbing of her son Jay Whiston in Colchester – was supported by at the launch of the bins by Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner (DCC) for Essex Lindsay Whitehouse and Chelmsford District Commander Alan Cook.

Trevor Woolley, whose 18-year-old son Ashley was stabbed to death in Chelmsford last December, also attended the launch of the amnesty bin in the city to show his support.

Mr Whitehouse said: “A knife placed in one of these bins is another knife off our streets which might otherwise be used to cause someone serious harm or potentially worse. Not only do these bins allow dangerous weapons to be safely disposed of but their very presence in the heart of our town centres also serves to raise awareness of the very real danger posed by those carrying knives.”

Chief Insp Alan Cook said: “I am delighted to support the work of Caroline Shearer and Only Cowards Carry by launching the knife amnesty in Chelmsford. Essex Police remains thoroughly committed to working with partners, such as Only Cowards Carry, local authorities and the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner to help raise awareness of the harm and devastation that knife crime causes. The public can also rest assured that Essex Police will continue to deal robustly with those caught carrying or using knives.”

Caroline Shearer of Only Cowards Carry added: “We are grateful for the continued support of Essex Police and the Police & Crime Commissioner in placing these knife bins around the county as we believe this provides an invaluable service by taking weapons off the streets. I am really pleased Trevor was able to be here for the launch as I’ve always maintained this has never just been about me and my son there are so many people out there, unfortunately, who have suffered losses like we have.”

Mr Woolley said: “Caroline and I have both suffered terrible tragedies. If these bins can help even just one family to avoid going through the loss we have been through then that is a great thing.”

The British Ironwork Centre has agreed to provide 150 knife amnesty bins, through the Home Office, to police forces around the country. Of those, Essex will be offered 10 (which includes the three now in Clacton, Colchester and Braintree and two in Chelmsford) to place at various locations around the county as and when the knife amnesty initiative is extended.

The family-run company are using 100,000 of the blades and weapons collected to create a national sculpture, as a symbol against violence and aggression.

Anyone who wants to surrender a knife should make sure it is fully wrapped up and placed in a secure container before bringing it to the amnesty bins.

If someone is unsure about whether to bring in a knife they can contact Essex Police on 101 for advice.

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PFCC for Essex, Kelvedon Park, London Road, Rivenhall, Witham, Essex, CM8 3HB
01245 291600

If your enquiry relates to operational policing or a crime please contact Essex Police

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