Beds, Herts & Bucks

Luton carnival: Police crackdown on knife crime

Police looking for knives Image copyright Bedfordshire Police
Image caption Officers have been out in Luton looking for weapons that have been discarded or hidden for future use

A series of knife sweeps are taking place in Luton ahead of the annual carnival to "keep people safe", according to police.

The action by Bedfordshire Police is part of Operation Sceptre - a national campaign to crack down on knife crime.

There has been a recent spate of stabbings in the town, which have left two men dead in the space of six weeks.

Four people were also stabbed at the end of the carnival in 2016.

Image copyright Bedfordshire Police
Image caption The weapon searches are part of a national campaign to crack down on knife crime

Ben Dimmock, a community safety sergeant, said: "We have a trained search team carrying out sweeps for knives in Luton.

"We will also be delivering educational inputs around the consequences of knife crime in a number of schools."

The force said it was "playing a key role in keeping families safe" at the carnival and would be assisting the organisers, the UK Centre of Carnival Arts (UKCCA) and Luton Borough Council.

Ch Insp Mark Farrant, who is coordinating the police operation on the day, said: "We will have lots of officers on duty, so please do approach them if you need to report any concerns.

Image copyright Sgt Ben Dimmock
Image caption A knife was recovered from under a stairwell in Luton on Monday, on the first day of Operation Sceptre

"We have been out and about to show people how seriously we are taking the recent increase in knife crime.

"We are committed to keeping people safe and I hope our presence in the town this week, as well as at the carnival on the day, goes some way to reassuring the public that their safety is our priority."

The theme of this year's carnival is "Home Is Where The Heart Is" and will take place at Wardown Park from 12:00 to 18:00 on Sunday.

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