A SPECIALIST police operation which was set up to tackle knife crime and violent offences has achieved a milestone.

The number of arrests made by officers from Operation Jemlock, which covers Keighley and other parts of West Yorkshire, has broken through the 10,000 mark.

And the initiative – which was launched in 2019 – has seen more than 2,100 weapons seized, with latest items recovered including a samurai-style knife and homemade knuckle duster.

Police are supported in the operation by organisations such as the West Yorkshire Combined Authority-hosted Violence Reduction Partnership, which funds knife crime intervention work across communities in a bid to prevent offending taking place.

In 2022-23, the partnership worked with nearly 50 other organisations, supporting over 14,000 young people aged under 25 to tackle issues of serious violence.

Operation Jemlock is also backing a campaign of education and awareness around knife crime.

Chief Inspector James Kitchen, force lead for Operation Jemlock, says: "Continuing to reduce knife crime and raising awareness of the dangers of carrying knives absolutely remains a key priority for the force heading into 2024, just as it does in communities.

"The team has now made in excess of 10,000 arrests since it was established in 2019, with more than 2,000 dangerous weapons seized.

"Those numbers have contributed to knife offending falling across West Yorkshire and fewer people being victims of knife offences and violent crime."

He adds: "Our enforcement operations and patrols to take offenders and weapons off the streets continue as does the huge investment in knife crime awareness work in communities, and with the young people within them in particular.

"It is no exaggeration to say that police and partners have now engaged with tens of thousands of young people across West Yorkshire about the dangers of carrying knives.

"We are confident that most of those teenagers don’t, and won’t, carry such weapons, and we'd also stress that the vast majority of our young people are not involved in this kind of offending.

"Operation Jemlock remains resolute in its drive to catch and convict those who continue to carry knives. The message from communities, families and friends couldn’t be any clearer in that it is never acceptable to carry knives. For those who continue to put their own and other people's lives at risk, it will only be a matter of time before you are arrested or the victim of knife crime."