West Yorkshire had the highest rates of knife crime after London in 2018

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West Yorkshire had the highest rate of knife and sharp incident crime outside London last year, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.

There were 4,496 knife and sharp incident offences in Yorkshire and the Humber for the year ending September 2018, 60 per cent (2,717) of which took place in West Yorkshire.

West Yorkshire had the second highest rate of knife and sharp incident offences in the UK in the year ending September 2018.

West Yorkshire had the second highest rate of knife and sharp incident offences in the UK in the year ending September 2018.

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Despite an initial decrease in knife crime in the region between 2010 and 2013, there has since been a rise every year with a total increase of 124% from 2012-13 to 2017-18.

Talking about how the police in the region are tackling this issue, Detective Superintendent Chris Gibson, West Yorkshire Police's Knife Crime Lead said: “We are doing everything we can to tackle knife violence – the consequences of which can be horrific – for victims injured or killed, for families caught up in it and for the wider community.

“Our message is simple: carrying a knife is never the answer and by carrying a knife you are much more likely to get stabbed yourself. We are concerned about knife crime and the impact it can have on the communities we serve and we are working tirelessly with our partners to prevent it from happening.

“This ongoing work included an event last week where schoolchildren from across Leeds heard first-hand accounts of the dangers of carrying a knife.

“Students were also shown some of the basics of crime scene investigation work and some first aid skills.

“We have also held weapons surrenders and educational programmes to warn young people in particular about knife crime.

The Leeds Lives Not Knives event mentioned took place on February 27 and was organised by the force to show secondary school children the reality of knife crime and the consequences carrying a blade can bring.

Members of Leeds social enterprise group Life Experience told the children how knife crime had affected their lives.

Scott Hacking, 34, from Bradford, was one of the speakers at the event.

He was stabbed in 2016 by someone he knew before running into the road and being hit by a car.

The attack left him in a coma for a week and his attacker was sentenced to 17 and a half years in prison.

Mr Hacking credited the stabbing with turning his life around saying: “It gave me a bit of a wake up call over the people I was getting mixed up with.

“My daughter was six months old at the time and I realised she could have grown up without a dad.”

He said of sharing his story at the event: “If it helps one person then some good has come out of it.”

Detective Superintendent Gibson went on to explain that not all the offences recorded in the ONS statistics involved knives and stabbings.

“It is important to place the statistics in context. These statistics include any item capable of puncturing the skin. So for example a pen or a piece of glass.

“We also record any incidents where there is a perceived threat of a knife as a knife crime – so if, for example, a crime was recorded where someone threatened via email to stab someone and the victim believed the threat to be real then that would be recorded as a knife crime.”

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Speaking on knife crime, West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said: "We have seen significant rises in knife and violent crime across the country, particularly involving children and young people, but not exclusively, resulting on too many occasions in the tragic loss of life.

"Our police do an extremely important job in protecting our communities and carrying out robust enforcement against offenders, but it is ultimately through early intervention and prevention work that we can most effectively tackle knife crime and serious violence.

"Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are undertaking a number of initiatives locally and have called for further action, including on future sustained national police funding, the need for a whole-system cross-government approach and by reinvigorating work across local partnerships through bodies such as Community Safety Partnerships."

"There is also an urgent need to address the dramatic reductions in youth services and the significant rise in school exclusions, which many believe are linked to the rise in violent crime. PCCs have coordinated successful bids to the Home Office Early Intervention Youth Fund alongside other local initiatives that are being driven and funded by PCCs. However, more needs to be done to ensure sustained support and funding for our policing, youth services and wider prevention services."

In a previous report the YEP revealed that the number of patients admitted to Leeds hospitals after being assaulted with a sharp object rose by 40 per cent in a year:

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