Over 2000 Arrests in Landmark Initiative to Tackle Serious Violence
29th January 2020
More than 2000 arrests have been made as part of a West Yorkshire Police initiative to tackle serious violence and knife crime.
#OpJemlock was launched in April 2019 and has now reached a total of 2101 arrests with 144 weapons seized.
The operation commenced after the Chief Constable, John Robins met with the Home Secretary, along with other Chief Officers in March 2019.
Following that meeting, a number of police forces were given extra funding to tackle knife violence.
Since the inception of Op Jemlock, there has been a 9% reduction in all knife crime offences and a 12% reduction in victims of knife crime aged under 25.
Robbery offences, which sometimes involve a knife or the threat of a knife, are also down 12%.
It comes as the Force launches a week of action to specifically target violent crime, which is in addition to the significant work routinely undertaken.
Superintendent Damon Solley of the Force’s Violence Reduction Operation Jemlock said:
“Officers working on Operation Jemlock are teaming up with locally based neighbourhood officers to focus on violence and knife crime which we are determined to tackle.
“This crime type causes so much suffering for victims, their loved ones and the wider community.
“The officers are carrying out activities across West Yorkshire in an effort to remove the presence of weapons from the streets and deter those who are considering carrying weapons.
“It is never the right choice to carry a knife or any type of weapon, as it places people at a higher risk of becoming involved in violence and sustaining serious injury.
“We are keen to involve all agencies and organisations in this week of action as it is an issue we must tackle together.”
On Saturday 25th January, officers from the Jemlock team were joined by the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, the Local Authority and Councillors in Middleton Park.
It was part of a wider series of community events in Leeds, with a focus on working together to tidy up local parks while identifying and addressing any issues of concern around crime and anti-social behaviour.
Mark Burns-Williamson, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for West Yorkshire, said:
“I am pleased to see first-hand, that targeted operational activity is really making a difference throughout our communities to directly tackle serious and violent crime.
“At the weekend I joined the Op Jemlock team along with Cllrs Judith Blake and Kim Groves in Middleton and it was good to see representatives and a variety of agencies coming together to raise awareness about knife crime and serious crime in the local area.
“At the end of 2019, we have started to establish an emerging Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) for West Yorkshire, following some ring-fenced funding from the Home Office.
“The Unit has adopted a new approach to reducing violence within our communities and is bringing together a variety of agencies including education, health, local government, third/voluntary sector, law enforcement and others to get a better understanding to help tackle the underlying causes of serious violence.
“Early intervention and prevention is key, people need to understand that carrying a knife can lead to serious, devastating consequences and can destroy lives, so we are collectively doing all we can to prevent people from making such dangerous decisions in the first place to carry a weapon through targeted intelligence work.
“Those individuals who are found to be breaking the law will be dealt with robustly so our message is don’t do it and we will work hard together to prevent such serious and violent crime from occurring and offer more positive pathways for people to make positive choices about their lives.”
The Force has also deployed safety arches in key locations across West Yorkshire, including Wakefield Bus Station earlier today (Wednesday 29th January)
Members of the public passed through and were checked for any concealed weapons.
Superintendent Solley added:
“Operation Jemlock has been enabled through dedicated funding to tackle violence and knife crime.
“We deploy a number of officers every day who concentrate specifically on tackling violence, knife crime and robbery.
“We are determined to reduce this crime type in West Yorkshire as it causes so much harm and has become a scourge on communities.
“I am extremely proud of our officers and the efforts they have made so far. However, the problem still persists.
“It is a constant and sustained approach which must continue if we are to see further reductions.
“All too often we see people using knives or weapons in crime. We take this very seriously and will continue to work tirelessly to reduce the numbers.”
Since April 2019, #OpJemlock has achieved the following:-
1544 Stop & search enquries
144 Weapons seized
3790 Intelligence submissions