A specialized unit dedicated to combating violent crime has ushered in the New Year with a significant achievement, surpassing the 10,000-arrest mark.

The dedicated officers of Operation Jemlock, operating in West Yorkshire, achieved a commendable total of 10,046 arrests by the end of January. Recent apprehensions include individuals found in possession of weapons and those suspected of involvement in robbery incidents.

Focusing on knife crime hotspots across West Yorkshire, the team strategically deploys specialist officers to enhance visibility, acting as a deterrent and actively pursuing offenders. The proactive approach has resulted in the removal of more than 2,100 dangerous weapons from the streets, with recent seizures featuring items such as a samurai-style knife and a homemade knuckle duster.

The arrests made by Operation Jemlock have played a pivotal role in consistently reducing both knife crime and serious violence. Comparing the present scenario to the inception of Jemlock in 2019, incidents of knife offending have substantially decreased.

In tandem with police efforts, initiatives to curb knife crime receive support from various partners, including the Violence Reduction Partnership hosted by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. Established in 2019, the partnership funds crucial interventions across communities to prevent offending.

During the 2022/23 period, the Violence Reduction Partnership collaborated with 46 organizations, aiding over 14,000 individuals under 25 in tackling serious violence.

Operation Jemlock is actively involved in an education and awareness campaign on knife crime in Leeds this month, coinciding with the arrival of the imposing Knife Angel sculpture. This month-long initiative officially launches Project Shield, the city’s coordinated, long-term response to knife crime.

Chief Inspector James Kitchen, force lead for Operation Jemlock, said: “Continuing to reduce knife crime and raising awareness of the dangers of carrying knives absolutely remains a key priority for the force heading into 2024, just as it does in communities.

“The team has now made in excess of 10,000 arrests since it was established in 2019, with more than 2,000 dangerous weapons seized.

“Those numbers have contributed to knife offending falling across West Yorkshire and fewer people being victims of knife offending and violent crime.”

He added: “Our enforcement operations and patrols to take offenders and weapons off the streets continue as does the huge investment in knife crime awareness work in communities, and young people within them in particular.

“It is no exaggeration to say that police and partners have now engaged with tens of thousands of young people across West Yorkshire about the dangers of carrying knives.

“We are confident the vast majority of those teenagers don’t, and won’t, carry such weapons, and would also stress that the vast majority of our young people are not involved in this kind of offending.

“Operation Jemlock remain resolute in our drive to catch and convict those who continue to carry knives. The message from communities, families and friends couldn’t be any clearer in that it is never acceptable to carry knives. For those who continue to put their and other’s lives at risk it will only be a matter of time before you are arrested or the victim of knife crime.”