New police operation launched to tackle serious violence and knife crime

High-visibility patrols, knife sweeps and intelligence-led operations used to tackle serious violence and knife crime

The police are releasing more details about our new proactive operation to tackle and disrupt serious violence and knife crime involving young people. This follows a number of fatal stabbings and serious assaults in Bristol during the past few months.

Eddie Kinuthia, 19, Max Dixon, 16, Mason Rist, 15 and Darrian Williams, 16, have all lost their lives in the city as a result of knife crime since June last year. In Bristol in particular, we have seen a notable increase (42%) in street-based knife crime offences from 395 in 2022 to 561 in 2023. 

The new operation will bring together a dedicated team of police officers and staff from CID (Criminal Investigation Department), intelligence, and proactive response teams, who will focus on identifyingthose who pose the biggest risk in Bristol in a bid to divert, disrupt or detain them.  

Activities office and staff will conduct include:  

  • High–visibility patrols in areas intelligence indicates an increase risk of serious violence  
  • The proactive targeting of habitual knife carriers – those who have come to the attention of police at least twice before regarding possession of a bladed article  
  • Knife sweeps of parks and open spaces where intelligence suggests knives may have been stored or discarded  
  • Intervention and disruption activity co-ordinated with multi-agency partners  
  • Knife test purchase operations with local retailers to ensure that they are not selling weapons or bladed articles to any under 18s 
  • School education visits raising awareness of the consequences of knife crime
  •  Working with the Post Office and Border Force to intercept knives being sent in the post
  • Hosting of communities meetings and public events to listen to people’s concerns and to provide reassurance
  • Utilising civil orders such as Criminal Behaviour Orders to place restrictions on young people such as preventing them from wearing balaclavas and associating with named individuals or groups 
  • Working with partners and local businesses and communities to install emergency bleed kits in and around the city and wider force area

Temporary assistant chief constable Peter Warren said: “What we have seen in recent weeks in Bristol and to a lesser extent elsewhere across our policing area in recent months is nothing short of tragic. 

 “What we have seen in recent weeks in Bristol and to a lesser extent elsewhere across our policing area in recent months is nothing short of tragic.

“Children are being seriously injured and killed by people of the same age. It cannot be allowed to happen.  

“Our intelligence suggests a number of the recent incidents in Bristol have involved children and young people with rival affiliations or links to organised criminal groups, and so our work will be on developing this intelligence and preventing any further harm.  

“We are working extremely hard to identify those who pose the biggest risks to young people in our community, as well as those who are most at risk of being harmed to ensure that we can appropriately safeguard them.”

He added: “We know we cannot police our way out of this, but we hope that our actions will provide some reassurance to communities that we are taking this seriously, and in turn prevent and divert young people away from serious violence. 

“We are working closely with our partners across education, health and social care, and local authorities through our local Violence Reduction Partnerships (VRP) to ensure that we are taking a holistic approach, considering the age and vulnerability of some of those involved. 

“We would encourage the public to please make a report if you know of anything that suggests serious violence may take place, whether it’s someone in possession of a knife, or someone you are worried may be at risk. 

“We can only act on the information we know and a large part of this comes from the public and is vital to helping us protect our communities.   “We will endeavour to keep you updated on our operations as they develop and the actions we have taken to keep our streets and our communities safe from the devastation of serious violence.” 

Officers will be carrying out high-visibility patrols alongside a number of other proactive activities to tackle knife crime

Avon and Somerset Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP) Director, Natalie Lavis, said: “We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone affected by serious violence, and that some people may be afraid to express their concerns. The five local authority VRPs offer tailored and targeted support for young people, their families, and those affected by recent events. 

“The VRP has been proactive in working together to not only understand the root causes of serious violence, provide support to those involved or affected by it, but also the implementation of prevention interventions for those who are not involved, which is the vast majority of Avon and Somerset’s young people. Together, we reached over 10,350 young people in 2023 through active prevention interventions. For more information, individuals can visit their local authority’s website or” 

If you are concerned or worried that someone you know may be involved or at risk of serious violence, involving knife crime, please report. You can do so by:   

  • Calling 101  
  • Reporting online  
  • Anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online

The police is encouraging anybody who is carrying a knife for safety to discard of it – it will not keep you safe and you are more likely to be harmed or cause harm if you are carrying a knife, even if you do not intend to use it. You can surrender any knives or weapons safely and anonymously in one of our weapon surrender bins, which are located in several areas across Bristol and Avon and Somerset, including: 

  • Castle Park, Bristol (near the church, opposite the entrance to The Galleries) 
  • Staple Hill, Broad Street (opposite Page Park) 
  • The Park Centre, Daventry Road, Knowle, BS4 1DQ 
  • Trojan Free Fighters, St Jude’s, BS2 9DA 

See the full list of locations here: Report the use of knives and weapons | Avon and Somerset Police