Knife Crime Awareness Week (11 Mar 2019)

A week of action to raise awareness of knife crime has been launched by West Yorkshire Police, supported by the West Yorkshire Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC)

The awareness week, which is part of a national week of action, will run all week from today (Monday 11 March) until Sunday 17 March.

Knife crime can have devastating consequences - not only for the wider communities of the county - but also those individuals directly caught up in it including families of people injured or killed through knife crime or sent to prison because of it.

The Force and PCC have previously spoken out about tackling knife crime and the importance of talking to young people in particular about the potential consequences of it and the dangers of carrying a knife.

Work to tackle knife crime is always ongoing and daily work is done throughout the communities of West Yorkshire - particularly in schools to educate young people about the risks of carrying a knife.

During previous weapons surrenders knives and other weapons have been handed in to police so they can now never find their way onto the streets of West Yorkshire.

The week of action is meant to support that ongoing work and help to spread the key message that carrying a knife is never the answer.

Assistant Chief Constable Catherine Hankinson of West Yorkshire Police, said:

"We are very concerned about knife crime - it can cause great harm to the communities we serve and there is no place for it in our society.

"It is something we take extremely seriously. Every single person who works for this Force has a part to play in preventing it from happening and dealing with it when it does.

"Like in other areas of the country knife crime has increased recently in West Yorkshire but the most recent statistics show a slight fall.*

"We are absolutely committed to tackling all knife crime and initiatives like this week of action are very important for us to help to get the important message out there that carrying a knife is never the answer.

"No-one wants to see their loved ones caught up in the terrible consequences of knife crime.

"As an officer with many years' experience I have had to comfort the grieving families of victims and arrest those responsible for it. Knife crime has impacted terribly on them."

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) said: "We all know the devastating consequences that can result from carrying or misusing knives.

"It is ultimately only through early intervention and prevention work that we will be able to most effectively deal with the scourge of knife and violent crime in our communities and this is why I wholeheartedly support this very timely week of action to raise awareness of the dangers.

"This is an issue that can often blight our communities, and results on too many occasions in the tragic loss of life and all the consequences that follow for victims, families and offenders. The police and partner organisations are doing an extremely important job in protecting our communities and carrying out awareness raising, education and intervention work to ensure that people know and understand that carrying a knife is never the answer."

During the week of action a range of educational and enforcement activity will be taking place.

In the run up to the week, cadet volunteers (aged under 18) supervised by officers are visiting shops which sell knives to see if they would sell them**

This work will also take place during the week of action and officers will follow this up with visits to any stores which fail to educate them about their responsibilities under the law and warn them about their future conduct.

Other work by District is due to include:

During the week of action a range of educational and enforcement activity will be taking place.

In the run up to the week, cadet volunteers (aged under 18) supervised by officers are visiting shops which sell knives to see if they would sell them**

This work will also take place during the week of action and officers will follow this up with visits to any stores which fail to educate them about their responsibilities under the law and warn them about their future conduct.

Other work by District is due to include:

Calderdale

A knife crime package will be delivered across schools

Extra patrols at night time

Knife crime awareness stalls in shopping centres

Early intervention work to specifically target young people at risk of getting involved in knife crime.

Kirklees

Working with young people through local education establishments to warn of the dangers of knife crime including on transport routes to and from schools.

Test purchase operations

Leeds

The District has already held an event for young students from across the city where they warned about the consequences of knife crime by people who have seen the devastating consequences of it firsthand.

Roadshows about knife crime by the local Neighbourhood Policing Teams

Working with door staff at licensed premises across the city to promote knife crime messages

Wakefield

Pubs and clubs will carry out searches on people entering the premises as a condition of entry.

Early intervention work by PCSOs

Bradford

Test purchase operations

Knife sweeps of known ASB hotspots

Schools talks

 

Notes to Editors and further background information

*In the three months to December 2017 there were 647 knife related offences compared to 641 for the same period to December 2018 (a fall of 0.9%)

There is no specific offence of 'knife crime' - so a robbery where a knife is used is still a robbery and will be recorded as such but a knife crime will be recorded. As a Force we count "any instrument used as a weapon that is sharp and capable of piercing the skin" as a "knife" - so crimes involving, for example, the use of a broken bottle or a pen could be classed as a knife crime.

Our knife crime offences also include crimes where there is only the threat of a knife - so for example if someone emails someone else and threatens to stab them then that could be classed as a knife crime - even if no knife is ever seen.

In 2018 (January - December) the Force recorded 2,711 knife crimes - a 19.8% increase compared to the same period in 2017. All Districts reported an increase.

According to Home Office data most Forces in England and Wales reported an increase in knife crime in the 12 months up to September 2018. West Yorkshire saw the 9th highest increase.

**It is an offence to sell a knife or certain articles with a blade or point to anyone under the age of 18

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2019