Stabbings behind nearly 2,000 West Yorkshire hospital admissions, data shows

Assaults with knives and other sharp objects led to nearly 2,000 hospital admissions involving West Yorkshire residents in less than a decade, figures show.

Sunday, 14th November 2021, 4:45 am

Between April 2012 and March this year, there were around 1,990 admissions of patients from the West Yorkshire policing area following an assault with a sharp object, according to data from NHS Digital.

Of those, around 37 per cent involved people aged under 25.

Around 190 admissions followed attacks on people from the area in 2020-21 – the most recent period with complete data.

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In West Yorkshire police recorded 2,283 serious knife crimes in the year to June, including eight murders, 1,091 assaults involving injury and 40 knife-related rapes or sexual offences.

Figures are rounded to the nearest five to protect patient confidentiality.

The police force covering the patient's area of residence is recorded, meaning the assault could have happened elsewhere.

Separate Home Office crime figures for England and Wales show 262 people lost their lives to a blade in the year to June, with nearly 47,000 serious knife crimes recorded in that time.

In West Yorkshire police recorded 2,283 serious knife crimes over the same period, including eight murders, 1,091 assaults involving injury and 40 knife-related rapes or sexual offences.

Superintendent Damon Solley of the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, said: “Tackling knife crime is a key focus for West Yorkshire Police and the force continues to prioritise reducing it through Operation Jemlock.

"The Violence Reduction Unit also supports community work with young people to divert them away from involvement in violent crime.

“During the last 12 months West Yorkshire Police has recorded a 6.4 per cent reduction in knife crime across the force with 154 fewer victims.

“We have also recorded a 16.5 per cent reduction in robbery with 457 fewer victims and a 24 per cent reduction in hospital admissions for people assaulted with a sharp object, which equates to 60 fewer admissions for this kind of offending.

“To date, 938 weapons have been seized from the streets of West Yorkshire and 6225 arrests have been made.

“Jemlock officers continue to deploy across West Yorkshire to support colleagues, using targeted patrols and specialist police tactics in areas which have been identified as crime hotspots.

“We continue to need the public’s help to tackle knife crime by reporting incidents and offenders to make sure our resources are where they need to be, and we encourage resident to keep getting in touch."

A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs' Council said knife crime was a policing priority nationally and that early intervention played a vital role in stopping young people from becoming involved in crime.

He added: "Preventing people from carrying knives is not something that police forces can do alone – it requires schools, charities, the health service and community groups to work together.

"It is through engagement and working with partners that we can deliver long-lasting change and ensure young people can see the devastating effects carrying a knife can have."

English NHS hospitals have recorded more than 38,000 hospital admissions of patients from police force areas in both England and Wales since 2012-13 – 40 per cent of them involving young people.

And youngsters accounted for the same proportion of 4,000 hospital admissions recorded nationally in 2020-21.

Patrick Green, CEO of the Ben Kinsella Trust – a knife crime charity established in memory of a young stabbing victim – said the statistics were "shocking".

He said: "These figures show that knife crime remains a significant problem for the criminal justice system and the NHS.

"But more worryingly, they show that we are failing to protect young people.

"We need to do far more to educate young people about the dangers of knife crime."

The NPCC spokesman said tactics such as stop and search and the targeting of habitual knife carriers contributed to the rising number of offensive weapon crimes nationally.

He added: "We believe that with the addition of officers to the service and investment into new Violence Reduction Units, informed by active communities, we can play our role in preventing more tragic deaths.”

A Government spokesman said the introduction of a Serious Violence Duty would esure all parts of the public sector worked together to protect people from harm.

He added: "Every life lost to knife crime is a tragedy that didn’t have to happen.

"That's why we are putting 20,000 more police officers on our streets and also giving them greater powers of stop and search, so that more dangerous weapons can be seized and more lives saved."

The Yorkshire Evening Post’s Saving Lives After Lockdown campaign is shining a light on the impact of knife crime across the city, looking at ways to prevent an upsurge in incidents as restrictions are eased.

More stories from the campaign: