Over the course of a week dedicated to curbing knife and violent crime in West Yorkshire, law enforcement has successfully confiscated over 150 knives and apprehended 60 individuals.
Officers from various units within West Yorkshire Police collaborated with the Operation Jemlock knife and violent crime reduction unit to engage in a comprehensive range of enforcement and crime prevention activities as part of the national Operation Sceptre in November.
In the latest operation, a total of 163 knives were seized, leading to 60 arrests related to offences such as knife possession. The police conducted 56 weapons sweeps across the force area, covering locations such as Kirklees, Bradford, Leeds, and Wakefield.
To enhance public safety and discourage individuals from carrying weapons on public transport, special knife arches were deployed at busy bus stations during peak hours. Notably, a vehicle on Beck Hill in Buttershaw yielded the recovery of machetes and hammers on November 15. The officers confiscated the vehicle and weapons, and investigations are ongoing.
As part of ongoing efforts to educate young people about the serious repercussions of involvement in knife crime, over fifty schools in West Yorkshire were visited. Additionally, the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP), led by the Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, continued to support police operations to reduce knife offenses.
Established in 2019, the VRP focuses on key interventions within communities to prevent and reduce violent offending. Since March 2023, it has collaborated with 47 different organizations, supporting over 4100 young people under the age of 25.
Statistics reveal a four percent decrease in overall knife offenses for the 2022/23 financial year compared to 2021-2022, with an eight percent decline in cases involving individuals under 25. This translates to 102 fewer victims of overall knife crime and 73 fewer victims under the age of 25.
Chief Inspector James Kitchen, head of Operation Jemlock, said: “Work to combat knife crime continues 365 days of the year in West Yorkshire, but Operation Sceptre remains a key week for police forces to raise awareness of the dreadful consequences of carrying bladed weapons.
“This November’s activity has seen us recover 163 bladed weapons and make 60 arrests for offences including possession of illegal weapons.
“OI equal if not greater importance, however has been the large number of knife crime inputs in schools.
“Reaching young people and attempting to change the culture of carrying knives is the only long term solution for us to break the cycle of knife violence, and it is the reason the force and VRP continue to invest so heavily in this area.
“Action from parents, friends, communities and partners at all levels continues to be absolutely vital if we are to succeed at driving home one key message. Namely, that if you carry a knife, you are likely to become a victim of one.”
“if you know someone who carries a knife, speak with them, speak to others and report it. If you are a friend it might just save their life or that of another”
Director of the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP), Det Ch Supt Lee Berry added; “One more knife off the street is potentially another life saved, and whilst this latest activity offers a window into our proactive partnership efforts, the work continues day in, day out.
“Tackling serious violence requires a community-wide response, involving both preventative and enforcement approaches.
“That’s why we have launched a series of social media videos aimed at reaching both young people and parents or carers, helping to change attitudes and behaviours around knife carrying.”