NORTH Wales Police is taking a proactive approach to ‘get ahead’ of tackling a nationwide issue.

A police sergeant has said that knife crime is a ‘UK wide issue’ and the force aims to prevent the devastation it can cause.

Sgt Katie Newby, of Flintshire police, said that the force has launched an operation called Operation Branding which aims to get a grip on offensive weapons.

She said: “We are just asking people with any information whatsoever or concerns to contact either our control room or CrimeStoppers.

“We want to get ahead of things before something tragic happens. We don’t want to know when or if they have already used it, we want to know before so we can reduce the chances.

“If children are coming home saying they have seen something, we would like to know, if it’s children of a school age they can tell anyone at schools.

“Knife crime is a UK wide issue and we are trying to make sure it doesn’t become an issue here.

“We are asking for information on anyone who they suspect of carrying weapons. An incident hasn’t happened yet.

“If information is passed to us in relation to people carrying weapons then they would be subject to a stop and search.”

The sergeant said there has previously been a reduction in stop searches but North Wales Police is encouraging its officers to do more.

She added: “There has been more education on the background and the legislation and they are being encouraged with the right grounds.

“We do often find that any persons with information about knife crime, it’s generally linked to drug dealings.

“But we do have limited information because it’s not an issue here, I would just like to encourage people to come forward.”

Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that since records began in 2010, North Wales saw the highest number of offences involving a knife from April 2018 to March 2019, having gone up by 62 per cent to 268.

Figures from across England and Wales were also at their highest from April 2018 to March 2019, standing at 47,136 offences involving a knife.

Sgt Newby said: “If you’re found in possession then you’re potentially ruining the rest of you’re life. If you’re young then you could end up with a criminal record.

“The biggest thing for me is that it will affect your travel or when you’re applying for university or jobs and I think people don’t realise this.

“It may look good in front of your friends and they might be able to show off at the time but they have got to consider the bigger consequences on their lives.

“There’s education in schools and we have got access to further education but we don’t want to get to the point of dealing with the aftermath of an issue.

“It has life changing affects on the victim, but it’s not just the person with the knife or the victim that it affects, it’s everyone else who has to pick up the pieces after.”