Blackpool police get metal detector wands and arches in the fight against knife crime
Police in Blackpool have been given metal detectors to help the crack-down on knife crime.
Officers have 30 hand held knife wands and access to a mobile knife arch to help search suspects and keep public areas safe.
The new equipment comes after the county force won Government funding to address the problem of increased knife crime incidents which have hit the headlines over the past year.
The arch, which cost £4,000, will be shared across Blackpool, Fylde Wyre, Lancaster and Morecambe, but has already been used in Blackpool.
Officers used it on the Strand between Talbot Road and Queen’s Street between 10pm and 2.30am on a Friday night.
Sgt Warren Jones said: “This is part of our commitment to taking more knives and dangerous weapons off the streets and keeping people safe. It’s the first time neighbourhood and response officers have been equipped with the metal detecting devices, which are an effective tool for use alongside stop and search.”
He said the first deployment in Blackpool went well and did not cause too much disruption to clubbers in the town.
Some 500 people voluntarily went through it, three people were arrested for drug offences, but no knives were found.
He said: “It was well received generally, the people were quite receptive to it as it will keep them safe. As well as ‘pop-ups’ like that on the street we can use it in school or outside bars or events as a condition of entry.”
The knife wands cost around £100 each and are carried in police vans in the division.
Police have been also going into schools to talk about knife crime in recent weeks telling children about the dangers of carrying knives and the punishment they risk if they do so.
Sgt Jones added: "We take all reports of offences involving a knife extremely seriously and we will continue to use all the powers at our disposal, such as Section 60 Orders, in areas where we identify there is an issue.
"Anyone who is found in possession of a knife could face up to five years in prison."