Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Festus Akinbusoye, has backed new legislation that will see the sale of dangerous zombie-style knives banned, as a flagship anti-knife crime campaign for the county reached more than 5,000 students.
More than 5,000 students across 15 schools in Bedfordshire have received assemblies around the devastating impact of knife crime as part of the county’s anti-knife crime campaign ‘Just Drop It’, which was endorsed by PCC Akinbusoye, the campaign was launched in November 2023 by sharing lived experience and the impact it has on lives.
This latest campaign success follows the PCC announcing his backing of new laws that seek to help stem the rise in knife crime by banning the sale of zombie knives.
“The sad reality is that the effects of knife crime are rippling viciously throughout our community,” said Mr Akinbusoye.
“Not only as commissioner, or a resident of Bedfordshire, but as a father, the crisis of knife crime and serious violence on our streets is of real concern to me.
“So, I welcome the government taking positive and robust steps to strengthen existing knife crime laws.
“My office has invested in prevention and early intervention services for schools and the wider community, as well as securing dedicated government funding to tackle gangs, organised crime and the root causes of violence and exploitation.
“I am also proud to support the efforts of our Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU) alongside Bedfordshire Police, who are actively working to educate our young people, while providing a platform for those directly impacted by knife crime to speak out and influence change.”
“I continue to work closely with Bedfordshire Police, local authorities, voluntary organisations, faith groups and wider communities to tackle the cause of this terrible crime in our county.”
The new legislation also includes measures to raise the maximum sentence for the possession of banned weapons from six months to two years and gives the police the power to seize and destroy knives found in homes, if there are reasonable grounds to suspect they will be used for serious crime.
Ahead of the ban’s enforcement later this year, owners of the blades are being urged to surrender their weapons in one of the county’s 11 weapon’s bins.
From September, anyone in possession of zombie knife will face time behind bars.
To report concerns about knife crime, please do so via www.beds.police.uk/ro/report or call police on 101.
For more information on the ‘Just drop It’ Campaign, please visit – bedsveru.org
To find out more about the PCC, please visit www.bedfordshire.pcc.police.uk