The four different police forces in Yorkshire, their crime rates and the biggest issues they are currently facing

It is often described as 'God's own county', but many people outside of Yorkshire forget that it is not one, but four counties.

Our region is divided into North, South, East and West Yorkshire – each four different counties with various-sized populations.

Here at The Yorkshire Post, we cover crime stories affecting different walks of life from inner-city crime to rural offences affecting residents and farmers in some of the most isolated parts of Yorkshire.

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There are four main police forces which serve the Yorkshire population, so here is an explainer outlining who they are, how many people they employ and the biggest issues they are currently tackling.

A North Yorkshire Police officer pictured near Aysgarth Falls in the Yorkshire Dales National Park

West Yorkshire Police

The fourth biggest police force in the country, West Yorkshire Police serves a population of nearly 1.9m people – more than any other force in Yorkshire.

It is one of the many constabularies in the country known as a "metropolitan police force", meaning it serves a largely urban area, and last year recorded more than 288,000 crimes, including 26 homicides.

The force employs more than 9,800 people and is currently headed by Chief Constable John Robins QPM.

West Yorkshire Police's headquarters at Carr Gate, Wakefield

West Yorkshire Police's area is divided into five districts, namely Leeds, Bradford, Kirklees, Wakefield and Calderdale, all of which are mainly urban areas.

The crime rate in West Yorkshire was last year revealed to be the highest in the country when measured by the number of recorded offences per 100,000 people, however, the force has recently been commended for its "outstanding" crime recording methods which may in part explain why so many incidents were recorded last year.

Big issues which the force face are violence and drugs-related crime, and it currently runs Operation Jemlock where officers execute raids and searches for weapons and drugs.

Last year, West Yorkshire was one of several forces in England and Wales cherry-picked by the Home Office for a multi-million pound funding package to tackle violence in the form of violence reduction units (VRUs) – where experts partner with local authorities, health bodies and community organisations to look at the long-term causes and effects of violence.

South Yorkshire Police officers in Sheffield

South Yorkshire Police

Yorkshire's second-biggest police force, South Yorkshire Police serves a population of approximately 1.3m people across four districts, namely Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster.

It is another constabulary considered as a "metropolitan" force, covering a largely urban area.

Last year, some 146,000 crimes were reported to South Yorkshire Police, including 17 homicides, more than 4,000 sexual offences and more than 9,800 residential burglaries, according to data compiled by the Office of National Statistics.

A Humberside Police officer during an operation to crack down on illegal jet-skiers around Hull

South Yorkshire Police currently employs just under 5,000 people and is headed, at present, by Chief Constable Stephen Watson.

Much like West Yorkshire Police, some of the biggest issues facing officers in South Yorkshire include drugs and violence, with Sheffield in particular afflicted by high levels of knife and gun-related crime. The county was also highlighted by the Home Office last year for its violence levels with a violence reduction unit set up as a result.

North Yorkshire Police

Although geographically the largest county in England, North Yorkshire also has Yorkshire's smallest population due to its mainly rural - and, in parts, completely uninhabited - areas.

North Yorkshire Police currently serves approximately 824,000 people and is divided into the main districts of the City of York (which is historically considered to be separate to the county as a whole), Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby.

It also employs 1,370 officers and is headed, at present, by Chief Constable Lisa Winward.

The county is considered to be one of the "safest" in England and Wales, with one of the country's lowest crime rates when measured by the number of crimes per 100,000 people. Last year, the force recorded over 47,000 offences, including four homicides.

While rates of violence in North Yorkshire are lower than they are in its more metropolitan neighbouring counties, rural and road crime are two of the biggest issues currently facing the police force.

With its huge agricultural background and large areas of open countryside - including two national parks - North Yorkshire has high levels of rural and wildlife crime, such as the persecution of birds of prey, the theft of motor vehicles such as quad bikes and farming machinery, as well as poaching and hare-coursing.

As a result, it currently has its own rural taskforce specifically targeting these forms of crime.

Humberside Police

Technically, Humberside as an area covers not just the East Riding of Yorkshire and Hull, but also North and North East Lincolnshire.

The force serves a population of 914,000 while also employing approximately 2,000 police staff, making it Yorkshire's smallest police force. It is currently headed by Chief Constable Lee Freeman.

Humberside is divided between rural areas, villages and market towns in the East Riding, while Hull and the northern parts of Lincolnshire such as Scunthorpe and Grimsby are mostly urban. The area also includes a major port.

Some 98,000 crimes were reported to the force last year, including 10 homicides and just under 3,000 sexual offences.

Humberside's Operation Galaxy deals with the most serious forms of crime, such as violence, drugs, road crime and domestic abuse, and executes regular warrants across the area seizing drugs and making arrests.

Other police forces and authorities

As well as the four major police forces, Yorkshire is policed by other authorities, too. The British Transport Police operates across the region's rail and bus networks, and tackles crimes occurring on public transport, in stations and on land or property owned by rail and bus companies. It also assists regular police forces with issues such as county lines drugs crime, seizing drugs being transported between towns and cities on trains.

The National Crime Agency deals with the most high-level, sophisticated organised criminals such as people at the top of drugs pyramids, trafficking gangs, high-level fraudsters and other types of financial crime such as money laundering.

Meanwhile, the Border Force operates in Yorkshire's ports and airports, where it deals with any items being illegally transported into the UK, such as drugs, weapons and stolen artefacts.

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