More than 20 knives were seized by West Yorkshire Police last week as part of a national operation to target knife crime.

The force took part in Operation Sceptre, which focused on prevention, education and enforcement.

Across the county officers carried out a total of 26 weapon sweeps, finding a number of knives and other weapons concealed in public areas.

Officers also visited schools to educate and inform young people about the risks of carrying knives.

Test purchase operations also took place to see if retailers would sell knives to people under the legal age. All the retailers passed by refusing to sell such items.

Chief Insp James Kitchen, who leads on West Yorkshire’s own violence and knife crime Operation Jemlock said: “Through Operation Jemlock we are making a real difference in the communities of West Yorkshire.

“Operation Sceptre brought a nationwide focus to what we do every week to keep people safe. Enforcement work such as weapons sweeps is important.

“I am pleased that we removed a number of knives from West Yorkshire’s streets. These are potentially deadly weapons that can no longer be used to harm others. We targeted our operational work in key areas, carrying out weapons sweeps in parks and open spaces to make them safer.

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“Of equal importance, however, was the educational work that took place. If young people know and understand the dangers of carrying a knife or associating with people who do, then we can help to make a difference.

“I was particularly pleased to see that not a single retailer sold a knife to our under-age test purchasers.”

Operation Jemlock started in April 2019. Officers have made over 5,500 arrests and seized over 700 weapons. Knife crime is down 10% and robbery is down 20% in that time. There are around 1,500 fewer victims of robbery compared with the two years before that.

In addition to the work of Jemlock, there is the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) in West Yorkshire, which takes a unique public health led approach.

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It funds various local projects and interventions across all districts in the county to tackle and raise awareness about serious violent crime.

It has a particular emphasis on collaboration, encouraging organisations to work together to prevent violence and reduce the harmful impacts by strengthening partnerships, working with communities and developing the understanding of the causes to make a lasting difference.

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