A MAJOR police operation to combat serious violence and knife crime in the region has achieved a milestone.

More than 4,000 arrests have now been made – and over 500 weapons seized – as part of Operation Jemlock.

And West Yorkshire Police say that since the initiative began in April last year, robberies and offences involving knives have fallen.

Compared to the 18-month period preceding the operation, knife crime is down by 13.4 per cent, overall robberies by 20.8 per cent and robberies involving a sharp implement by 28.2 per cent.

Force chiefs welcome the figures but say the hard work will continue.

Superintendent Damon Solley, the force lead for violent crime reduction and Operation Jemlock, said: “Since the operation started we have made some significant progress.

“There has been a real commitment by officers to achieve such excellent results.

“These reductions in crimes of violence are outstanding and the result of the hard work of those officers working on the operation.

“For me, the single most important outcome is the reduction in the numbers of victims.

“When you compare the 18 months of Operation Jemlock with the same period prior to that, we have seen over 500 fewer victims of knife crime and over 1,000 fewer victims of robbery.

“Regrettably we still see violence happening on our streets, but I am determined to maintain the focus and work with our violence reduction unit supporting projects.”

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said the crime reduction figures were “impressive”.

He added: “I want to thank everyone involved in this operation from the ground up – they have undoubtedly made a significant difference to the overall safety of our communities.

“Operation Jemlock is working alongside the West Yorkshire violence reduction unit (VRU) – which I officially launched earlier this year – and together they are helping to keep our communities safe and feeling safe. The VRU is dedicated to working in partnership towards a better understanding and targeting of the root causes of violent crime in helping to prevent further harm.

“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.”