KNIFE crime in West Yorkshire has fallen nearly 12 per cent since the launch of a police operation targeting serious violence.

There have been 538 fewer victims of knife crime in the 21 months since Operation Jemlock was introduced, compared to the same period of time before its inception, according to West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Mark Burns-Williamson.

Across the region, all 'knife-enabled crime' is down by 11.8 per cent, while the number of victims of knife crime aged under 25 is down by 15.4 per cent. 

Robbery is down by 18.9 per cent, with 1,200 fewer victims since the launch of Operation Jemlock, while robbery involving a sharp implement has reduced by 24 per cent - with there being 391 less victims, statistics say.

The news comes after official police figures revealed that overall crime had fallen in Bradford over the last year, dropping by six per cent.

Theft offences in the district are down 24 per cent, while possession of weapons such as firearms or knives was down by 5 per cent.

This was despite violent offences in Bradford increasing by one per cent, and drug offences being up by 37 per cent.

Superintendent Damon Solley, who leads on violent crime reduction and Operation Jemlock, said: “It is fast approaching two years since Operation Jemlock was established. In that time, there have been some excellent reductions in incidents of knife crime and violence with weapons in West Yorkshire. 

“Knife crime is a devastating type of crime which causes so much harm, not only to victims, but to their loved ones too. 

“Our measure of success is primarily to reduce the number of victims we see. We cannot completely eradicate this type of crime and it still happens all too often. 

“However, the operation has made a significant impact in reducing those numbers of victims and I am determined to reduce them still further. 

“In the last 21 months, the Jemlock teams working together with local officers have seized over 650 weapons and made over 5,200 arrests. 

“I want to pay tribute to the hard work of those on Operation Jemlock and all West Yorkshire officers and staff for achieving these reductions so far. 

“Recently, there were some significant seizures of weapons removed from the streets of West Yorkshire. 

“Weapons like these have no place in the hands of those who wish to cause harm to others and their removal makes all of us that bit safer. 

“Operation Jemlock will continue to respond to incidents of violence and to locate and arrest those who are wanted for offences of violence.

“We also continue to work closely with the Violence Reduction Unit, who provide support for local initiatives to deter young people away from violent crime."

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), said: “538 fewer victims of knife and violent crime is a substantial result, and that also means 538 less individuals, families, friends and wider communities being affected by the consequences of these awful incidents.

“I want to thank everyone involved in this ongoing operation, they have undoubtedly made a significant difference and it’s fantastic to be able to so clearly quantify the results of their positive work throughout West Yorkshire.

“Operation Jemlock is working closely alongside the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), which I officially launched last year, and together they are helping to keep our communities safe and feeling safe. 

“Early intervention and prevention work is vital - people need to understand that carrying a knife or weapon can lead to serious, often devastating consequences and destroy lives.

"Collectively, we will do all we can to prevent people from making such harmful decisions in the first place through joint activity, research and initiatives with our partners in many different settings across West Yorkshire.”

Director of the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), Chief Superintendent Jackie Marsh, said: “These reducing trends, particularly around knife crime, are really encouraging and represent the impact of a sustained partnership approach to addressing serious violent crime.

“Ongoing enforcement activity, coupled with the VRU strategy of early intervention and prevention, means we can make lasting change across our communities. 

“Through our public heath-led model spanning numerous agencies, we are already seeing positive outcomes from a number of locally-based projects.

“Likewise, the VRU investment we have made into tackling the root causes of violent crime is changing behaviours and perceptions on the ground.”