This year has seen the tragic loss of life at the hands of knife-wielding killers in Huddersfield and the wider West Yorkshire area.

A stabbing in Fartown left Sandra Harriott dead in May, while teenager Harley Brown was killed with a machete in Aspley in February. More recently, attacks in Dalton and Dewsbury have resulted in more brutal fatalities. This is only a handful of cases where lives were lost to knife crime in Kirklees this year.

As tragedy continued to strike, Yorkshire Live launched its “Bin the Knife, Save a Life” campaign earlier this year, to rally authorities, from police to local councils to MPs, to educate young people about the dangers of carrying knives and work towards the removal of knives from the streets.

Read more: The chilling thousand-yard stares of Yorkshire killers locked up in 2023

While the region is still grieving the year’s devastating losses, efforts to address the issue have been ongoing with some progress being made. The number of knife offences is down by four per cent overall in the current financial year, compared to 2021/22, and cases involving under 25s have dropped by eight per cent in the same period.

This means there were 102 fewer victims of overall knife crime and 73 fewer victims under the age of 25 in 2023. Knife offences in West Yorkshire Police involving under 25s reduced by 21 per cent between October 2022 and October 2023.

A spokesperson from West Yorkshire Police said: “Taking knives and those who use them off the streets and raising awareness of the dangers of knife crime remain key priorities for all districts in West Yorkshire, including Kirklees.

“The force has invested significant resources into proactive operations to tackle offenders and, with partners, in crime prevention work to prevent people from carrying knives since 2019.

“The force’s Operation Jemlock Team of specialist officers continues to deploy in knife crime hot spots across West Yorkshire, including Kirklees, providing an extra visible policing presence of specialist officers to deter offending and proactively hunt down offenders.

“It has recovered more than 300 weapons so far in 2023 and made over 1320 arrests in what has been a year of significant operational activity for the unit.

“Officers also continue to work with the UK Border Agency to monitor imports of illegal knives and to intercept and seize these bladed weapons from homes they have been delivered to.

“Police operations to reduce knife offending continue to be complemented by partners including the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP), delivered by the Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin.

“The VRP was established in 2019 and delivers key knife crime interventions across communities to reduce and prevent offending.”

Chief Inspector James Kitchen of the force’s Operation Jemlock said: “A huge amount of work remains ongoing in West Yorkshire to reduce knife crime and particularly knife offences involving young people.

“Serious offences involving young people in particular are shocking and rightly raise concerns among residents both in West Yorkshire and nationally when they occur. It must be remembered though, that the vast majority of our young people do not carry knives and are not involved in this kind of offending.

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“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 possessing weapons. We are confident the vast majority of those teenagers don’t, and won’t, carry knives.

“We and our partners in the VRP continue to work with partners to reach the minority who do carry weapons to understand why they feel they must do so, and the culture and pressures which drive this. Clearly this work goes far beyond policing, and this is a process which will take a long time and need a great deal of support from communities.

“Strong enforcement work continues at all levels to seize weapons and prosecute those that carry them, and we welcome newly announced changes in legislation banning more kinds of bladed weapons.

“We will be working hard to enforce these new measures as they come into effect.”

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