A dedicated team in West Yorkshire has made over 9,000 arrests aimed at reducing serious violent crime. The Operation Jemlock team, part of West Yorkshire Police, has achieved over 1,000 arrests in 2023, marking a year of significant activity for the unit, which covers the entirety of West Yorkshire.

Since its establishment in 2019, the team has confiscated more than 1,765 weapons, including machetes, knives, and firearms. Jemlock’s strategy involves officers patrolling high-priority areas to offer a visible and reassuring presence within the community, enforcing when necessary.

Thanks to the efforts of the officers involved, areas under Jemlock’s patrol have seen substantial decreases in knife crime and serious violent offences. The operation operates in partnership with the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Partnership, formed in 2020 to address the underlying causes of violent offences. It also supports crucial local initiatives aimed at proactive work with children and young individuals.

Chief Inspector James Kitchen of West Yorkshire Police’s Operation Jemlock said:  Operation Jemlock was formed in 2019 to reduce violent crime and particularly knife crime in West Yorkshire.

“More than 1765 dangerous weapons have been seized and more than 9,000 arrests made by officers since its launch with arrests and weapons seizures continuing on a weekly basis.

“Every weapon seized makes communities safer by taking weapons out of the possession of those who choose to cause harm.

“Actual knife Crime in West Yorkshire has reduced year on year since 2019, however, the fear of knife crime continues to be at the forefront of people’s concerns, due to a number of tragic incidents and knife crimes significant presence in social media and popular youth culture.”

He added: “There is always the balance between over-criminalising young people and ensuring that the public are protected.

“However, regarding the very small minority who continue to choose to carry a weapon, it is Jemlock’s continuing commitment to find those individuals and put them before the courts.

“Carrying a weapon will never be tolerated, it doesn’t ‘protect’ it only puts everyone at greater risk of harm.”

Director of the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP) Det Ch Supt Lee Berry added: “We work in close collaboration with Operation Jemlock, which has been instrumental in reducing knife-related crimes in West Yorkshire and bringing to justice those who involve themselves in serious violence.

“The Violence Reduction Partnership compliments this work. Through a better understanding of the root causes of serious violence, the VRP helps coordinate and enhance the county’s response, with prevention at the heart of our approach.

“In 2022/23 alone, we have worked with 46 organisations, supporting over 14,000 young people under 25 years to tackle serious violence. Only by working together in this way can we effectively respond and keep our young people safe.”