West Yorkshire Police gives its support to National Knife Awareness Campaign (17 Sep 2019)

West Yorkshire Police is giving its support to a national campaign to raise awareness of and tackle knife crime.

Operation Sceptre started yesterday and is running all week until Sunday 22 September and has the support of the Force as well as the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC)

Both have previously supported Operation Sceptres and this year they have been joined by Leeds United Football Club and their Premier League KICKS Campaign.

Throughout the week the Force is carrying out a range of activity including test purchase operations to see if stores sell knives to people underage, knife sweeps as well as carrying out arrest enquiries

This work is on the back of the Force's own Operation Jemlock. #OpJemlock is West Yorkshire Police's ongoing response to violent crime and started in April this year when the then Temporary Chief Constable John Robins, QPM, met the Home Secretary.

Police forces including West Yorkshire were given greater stop and search powers to tackle the threat of knife crime as well as additional funding.

So far there have been over 900 arrests through Jemlock, 83 weapons seized and 209 vehicle stops.

Detective Superintendent Chris Gibson is the Serious Violent Crime Lead for West Yorkshire Police

"As a senior detective I have seen first-hand the devastating consequences knife crime can have - for victims, the wider community and even perpetrators and their families in particular.

"We treat knife crime extremely seriously and #OpJemlock has already had some incredible results since it started. Operation Sceptre allows us to get the message out there that carrying a knife is never the answer.

"Through Operation Sceptre I am appealing directly to young people in particular not to get involved in knife crime and if they are to turn their life around. There is a choice.

"We want to spread the #knifefree message to young people in particular and that is why it is so important to have a positive community role model such as Leeds United involved.

"I am very grateful for their support and by working in partnership with them we can make a real difference.

"During the week we will have our taking place but we will also be speaking directly to young people about the dangers of carrying a knife through the KICKS campaign through the club's Foundation."

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) said: "Only last week we saw an individual jailed following an incident where he actually used the victims own knife against him. This case was bad enough but demonstrates exactly why this week of action, and other on-going work to tackle serious violence is so important.

"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 it's great to see Leeds United on-board with this initiative who I am sure will help to make a real difference raising wider awareness.

"Beyond this intensive week of action there is a host of work on-going in West Yorkshire and in particular my office is leading on the creation of a dedicated Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) for West Yorkshire. The VRU is a multi-agency approach, bringing together key partners and the community to tackle violent crime and its underlying causes. They will be responsible for identifying the drivers of serious violence locally and develop a coordinated and targeted response to tackle them in the areas that need it most."

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2019