It has one of the lowest rates of knife crime in England.

But police in Cheshire will launch a major operation next week to take more blades off the street.

It will include providing more bleeding control kits at community venues which contain equipment and instructions that enable members of the public to prevent knife crime victims from bleeding to death.

The week-long Operation Sceptre, starting on Monday April 26, also aims to educate youngsters about the dangers of carrying weapons.

Statistics show that the number of knife-related offences committed in the county decreased by 24 per cent from the end of March 2020 to the end of March 2021.

More community venues in Cheshire will be installed with kits to stop people bleeding to death after knife attacks

But next week officers will carry out weapons sweeps in parks and other locations where blades might be hidden plus stop and search operations; house raids linked to knife crime; and intelligence-led action against habitual knife carriers.

They will also carry out test purchases in stores and work with schools, housing associations and community groups to explain the potentially fatal consequences of knife crime.

Shopkeepers that sell knives will be spoken to about security and to reinforce the national Challenge 25 policy.

The operation will also work alongside Border Force to identify people who import knives into the country from overseas, as well as those who buy weapons online, and take action.

Chief Inspector Sarah Heath, who is Cheshire Constabulary’s knife crime lead, said: “Nationally, knife crime is a growing problem, and the week-long Operation Sceptre campaign is an initiative that the force is always more than happy to support.

“We were severely restricted in terms of the work we could do during last year’s two weeks of action for Operation Sceptre, with them having fallen when the country was in lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Now that we have come out of lockdown, there are more avenues open to us in terms of tackling knife crime across Cheshire over the seven days.

“However, knife crime is an issue that the force tackles throughout the year, with officers working day and night to protect communities."

“Our goal is to achieve weapons-free streets throughout the county and we endeavour – through education, awareness and action – to make Cheshire an area where no-one carries a knife, or feels that there is a reason to do so.

“However, the police cannot achieve this goal on our own. Knife crime is a societal problem that cannot be solved without the support of the whole society.

The measures will be introduced in Cheshire

“If you have any information regarding knife crimes, or those who carry weapons, please let us know.

“If you know someone who carries a knife then reporting it to the police could be enough to save a life.”

Retailers also have an important role to play, by helping to ensure that weapons are not falling into the wrong hands, police said.

They are urged to have robust controls on the sale of blades, such as kitchen knives.

It is illegal to sell a knife to anyone under the age of 18, and anyone found carrying a knife in public, without a reasonable excuse, faces a prison sentence.

To report any type of crime involving weapons, call Cheshire Constabulary on 101, or 999 in an emergency.

Information can also be passed to the force online via https://www.cheshire.police.uk/ro/report.

Anyone who knows someone that carries a knife can report it to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/forms/give-information-anonymously.