A knife amnesty will be launched across Essex alongside the rollout of new branding on knife bins placed at 14 sites across the county.

Essex Police has now taken over responsibility for the bins, which are funded by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, the Violence and Vulnerability Unit and Essex Police.

Each container has now been rebranded using artwork from three secondary school students - one from in Essex, Southend and Thurrock, who won a competition to design new livery.

Each pupil’s work will adorn the bins in their council area.

The project is in conjunction with the Ben Kinsella Trust, an educational charity set up following the murder of 16-year-old Ben in 2008.

The organisation campaigns against knife crime and works with more than 4,000 young people each year in order to prevent them from straying into crime.

The re-launch of the bins coincides with a knife amnesty, which will take place across the county starting today.

The amnesty allows for anyone who wants to dispose of bladed weapons to do so safely and without fear of prosecution. The priority is for as many knives as possible to be taken off the streets of Essex.

Temporary Det Chief Insp Clayton Ford, of the Prepare, Prevent and Protect Team, which is part of our Serious Violence Unit, said: “We put significant effort into tackling knife crime including hotspot policing, intelligence gathering, using knife arches, and utilising additional powers such as dispersal orders and Section 60 powers, which are an extension of the stop-and-search activity which takes place every day.

“Thankfully, knife enabled crime is falling across Essex; in the year 2019/2020 – the best year with which to compare given the impact of Covid – there were 1,881 offences recorded. In 2021/2022, 1,629 offences were recorded – a drop of 13 per cent.

“But we aren’t resting on our laurels. Knife crime and violence is not an issue the police can tackle alone, and we work with partners to address it."

Knife bins have been set up at Clacton Police Station, Beatrice Road; Maldon District Council office, Princes Road; Harwich Park Pavilion, Barrack Lane; Colchester Police Station, Southway;Braintree Police Station, Blyth’s Meadow.