A new knife surrender bin was unveiled in West Bromwich High Street for people to voluntarily give up weapons and help save lives. The launch came as Sandwell's six-week Safer 6 campaign moves its focus to West Bromwich.
Thousands of weapons have been collected already under the Word 4 Weapons programme, which was first set up in London and has now expanded to the West Midlands, with support from the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner.
By voluntarily giving up weapons in these secure bins, people can help save lives and reduce the fear of being injured or killed on the streets.
Sandwell Council leader Councillor Darren Cooper said: "We must all do what we can to tackle the serious issue of knife crime.
"The culture of carrying a weapon is one we must try to eradicate. This bin gives people who have them an opportunity to deposit them in a safe way, without fear of prosecution.
"Although knife crime isn't seen as a major issue in West Bromwich and the wider Black Country, it's so easy for a fight to escalate into a very dangerous situation if someone's carrying a weapon.
"For yourself, your family and the wider community, please use this bin and get the knife out of your life."
West Bromwich Town Business Improvement District (BID) team supports this campaign for West Bromwich town centre. They said: “The town is a thriving high street and we want our shoppers to feel safe.”
Desmond Jaddoo, founder of Birmingham Empowerment Forum, said: “We are pleased to be able to assist and thank Sandwell Council for locating this – our fourth community knife surrender bin, which is now the 12th bin in the West Midlands. It is not a case of being reactive but proactive in efforts to ensure that we all play our collective part in making our communities safer for all, while echoing the constant message ‘Lives Not Knives’”.
Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands Yvonne Mosquito, who will be attending Monday's launch, said:“The knife bins give people a place to safely off-load items, which could instead destroy lives.
“I would like to express my thanks to the organisations that have agreed to host the bins and for everybody who is helping to spread the message that the carrying of weapons is never acceptable in our communities. It is entirely due to this groundswell of support from the community that the bins have achieved these results.
“Over the last few months, more than 400 knives and other weapons have been disposed of in bins across the West Midlands. That is why I am particularly pleased that a new bin has opened in Sandwell, to get even more weapons off our streets.”
Anyone with information on those carrying a knife should call police on 101. Always call 999 in an emergency. If you don't want to speak to police officers directly, call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Organisations work closely together day in, day out throughout the year to make Sandwell a safer, cleaner place.
The six-week Safer 6 campaign is all about targeting their efforts and providing extra reassurance during the darker nights, fireworks and bonfire season – a time when crime and anti-social behaviour can often rise.
Follow the campaign on Twitter using the #Safer6 hashtag.
Council, fire, police, health and probation services and voluntary organisations are taking part.