NEARLY 130 people have been arrested and more than 35 knives seized as part of an ongoing operation to tackle violent crime in West Yorkshire.

The ongoing operation, which involves high visibility patrols in higher crime areas was launched at the start of April after Temporary Chief Constable John Robins met with the Home Secretary in March.

Following on from the meeting police forces were given greater stop and search powers to tackle the threat of knife crime.

Forces including West Yorkshire were also given additional funding for work to tackle knife violence. West Yorkshire Police received £4.02 million

The operation has been runnning in the district since the start of April, with most of the work being carried out in and around the Kirklees District following recent high-profile attacks there.

Assistant Chief Constable Catherine Hankinson, said: “We are very concerned about knife crime and violence – it causes harm in our communities and we are committed to working with our partners to prevent it from happening and dealing with it when it does.

“The trend of young people in particular carrying a knife is particularly concerning and our main message is that carrying a knife is never the answer – many people who were injured by a knife were attacked with their own knife.

“The additional funding from the Home Office has meant we have been able to increase the numbers of officers and to target them in areas where there is the greatest threat and it has helped to make a real difference in Kirklees in particular.

“This is helping to reassure residents that we take the problem seriously and send out a warning to criminals or those looking to commit crime that their actions will not be tolerated.”

Throughout April, 129 people were arrested across West Yorkshire on suspicion of a range of offences including possession of an offensive weapon, assault, drug possession and violent disorder. Knives and one baton were seized as well as suspected class A and B drugs.

There were 172 stop searches, 112 vehicles stopped, 25 vehicles seized and further pieces of intelligence gathered. The vast majority of the results were in the Kirklees District.

Detective Chief Inspector Fiona Gaffney of Kirklees District Police, said: “I understand the recent concern in the community about violent crime in Kirklees but this operation shows that we take it extremely seriously.

“This operation has brought about specific results which will send a loud and clear message to criminals that they have no place in Kirklees or West Yorkshire. The operation has been intelligence led, meaning our resources are specifically targeted where we know they will have the maximum impact possible.

“I hope that these successes help to reassure law-abiding citizens that we listen to and act on their concerns and are here to keep our communities safe.”

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, said: “This operation has achieved very impressive results and I hope it will go a long way in providing the local community with reassurance.

“Targeted operations and enforcement such as this are part of the solution, the other side of the coin is prevention and early intervention. Preventing people from inflicting harm on their communities along with intervening early to stop people from being drawn into crime in the first place is obviously absolutely key."

ACC Hankinson, added: “Operations like this are an important tool in helping to send a strong reassurance message to the communities we serve that violent crime and knife crime in particular will not be tolerated. They cannot though be the only answer.

“I cannot stress enough that carrying a knife is never the answer and as a mum myself I would appeal directly to parents and guardians to know what their children are doing.

“It takes a brave person to stand up and speak out about any concerns they may have about their loved ones or friends.

“We are working closely with schools across West Yorkshire to speak to young people about the dangers of carrying a knife – either for their own perceived ‘protection’ or to attack someone.

“We have also held high profile weapons surrenders where knives and other potentially offensive weapons have been handed in.”