Police given metal-detecting 'wands' to tackle knife crime
Metal-detecting 'wands' are to be handed to frontline police officers in the latest move to tackle the huge increase in knife crime.
Some 80 knife wands will be assigned to emergency response vehicles in an initiative by West Midlands Police to take weapons off the streets.
It is the first time response police officers have been equipped with metal-detecting devices which to support their stop and search powers.
The £8,000 investment has been funded through the force's Asset Recovery Fund, which comprises money seized from criminals.
Chief Superintendent Chris Todd, the West Midlands' lead on stop and search, said response teams across the force region will benefit but there will be a focus on those operating in higher knife crime areas.
He added: “This investment means that close to half of all our response cars will know carry knife wands. It’s a move that’s been taken as part of our wider work to tackle knife crime and to make it more difficult for people to conceal weapons.
"The wands are effective stop and search tools and less intrusive for suspects. But it’s a type of search we still need reasonable grounds to use − they can’t be used indiscriminately − and must record after each deployment.
"And they are not a replacement for a thorough personal search of suspects as they will only detect metallic weapons."
Handheld metal detectors are used in West Midlands Police custody blocks when booking in people who have been arrested and also during dedicated operations but this is the first time response units will be routinely equipped with knife wands.
David Jamieson. the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, welcomed the move.
He said: "Sadly, knife crime has increased by 75 per cent since 2012. It means police are spending more and more time tackling the problem.
"As such, it is important hard working officers have the tools to do the job we expect of them.
"That is why I’m fully behind the decision to purchase these knife wands using money seized from criminals. These knife wands will help the police to keep us all safe."