OPEN land searches and weapon sweeps will be carried out by Merseyside Police this week in a public demonstration of what is being doing to tackle knife crime.

As part of Operation Sceptre, high-visibility patrols will be using knife arches or wands at key times in busy locations, linking in with door-staff and licensed premises.

The campaign is part of Operation Target, which was launched on July 1 to tackle serious and violent crime, including knife crime across the whole of Merseyside.

Since it launched, 49 people have been arrested for possession of knife blade/sharply pointed object.

Of those, 21 people have been charged or postal charged.

A further 19 are awaiting a charging decision and 2 have been released on police bail.

Chief Inspector Andy Creer said arrests, seizures and recoveries are made on a daily basis, but Operation Sceptre was a public show of ongoing commitment to the problem of knife crime.

Chief Inspector Creer continued: "Operation Sceptre gives us the chance to stand alongside the other 42 national police forces taking part to show our commitment to tackling knife crime.

"Operation Target is our local response to what is a national issue. It is pleasing to see that we are already seeing the positive results of our ongoing disruption activity.

"Over 20 people have already been charged with knife possession and we have carried out hundreds of land searches, stop searches and weapon recoveries.

"We will continue to push the message that carrying a knife is not acceptable and people put themselves at risk when they choose to carry a weapon.

"I would ask that the public continues to support us by spreading the message and making carrying a knife socially unacceptable.

"If you know someone is carrying a knife then speak to us or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 and help us to finally stamp out this problem."