Arsenal of 800 knives, bullets and swords recovered from weapon surrender bins

Richard Vernalls, PA
·3-min read

An arsenal of more than 800 knives, knuckle-dusters, bullets, swords and even a bayonet are to be destroyed after a network of weapon surrender bins were emptied.

The grim haul of weaponry has been accumulated across 19 bins operated by the West Midlands police and crime commissioner’s office.

Knife crime has more than doubled in the region since 2012 and the bins are just one part of a tapestry of policing measures aimed at tackling violent and gang-related crime.

The items ranged from ordinary kitchen knives and scissors to so-called “zombie” knives, with serrated blades, and a rusty bayonet.

Short swords, cleavers, axes, knuckle-dusters and live ammunition were also recovered and will now all be safely disposed of.

Waheed Saleem, West Midlands deputy police and crime commissioner, said: “Worryingly knife crime has been rising across the country during the last decade and people are understandably concerned.”

Mr Saleem, speaking amid a display of the weaponry recovered, added: “This is just an example of the weapons we have taken off the streets.

“We’ve seen all sorts of different knives, knuckle-dusters – axes, even – that have been taken off the streets.

West Midlands weapon surrender scheme
Weapons including so-called ‘zombie’ knives and knuckle-dusters were among those recovered from the bins (Jacob King/PA)

“That’s important, because we need to keep our communities safe.

“We’ve seen these knives could have been used in crime.”

Mr Saleem added that anything which reduced the number of weapons on the streets was a good thing, saying “a knife can take a life”.

He said: “It is unfortunate we are in this situation where people are carrying knives and using knives.

“These knives are awful, they can do an extortionate amount of damage.

“So taking them off the streets, getting them crushed, will keep our communities safe.”

West Midlands weapon surrender scheme
Deadly weaponry including short swords and machetes on display (Jacob King/PA)

The deputy commissioner said other policing initiatives included a dedicated West Midlands Police programme, Project Guardian, “targeting specific high-incident areas, where knife crime is a particular issue”.

For instance, in those areas there are regular police sweeps of parks, waste ground and other hotspots, where gangs and offenders often hide weaponry, to avoid detection and to stash for future use.

Mr Saleem added: “We’ve got youth workers going into schools to tell young people about the dangers of carrying knives.

“We’ve also got youth workers going into A&E departments, so if somebody has come into A&E with a knife or gunshot wound we can try and get them away from that gang culture and gang violence.”

There are also gang mediation teams, school mentoring and a violence reduction unit, which works to guide youngsters away from gangs and trouble, by building and strengthening community links with youth groups, parents, schools and colleges.

The police and crime commissioner David Jamieson recently warned of the potential for a “tidal wave of violence” on the streets as lockdown eases and the economy falters.