POLICE officers in West Lancashire have been given metal-detecting ‘knife wands’ in a bid to tackle knife crime.
A total of 25 wands have been allocated to officers across Preston, Chorley, South Ribble and West Lancashire to search people thought to be carrying weapons in a bid to “keep the community safe and feeling safe.”
The force has secured government funding, through Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw to help tackle the problem of increased knife crime incidents.
It’s the first time neighbourhood and response officers have been equipped with the metal-detecting devices. Knife wands will also be distributed across the rest of the county.
Paul McLernon, Lancashire Police’s Violence Reduction Sergeant for Preston, Chorley, South Ribble and West Lancashire, said: “The knife wands will give members of the public, as well as officers, added security, with the aim of taking more knives and other dangerous weapons off the streets. The wands are an effective tool for use alongside stop and search and potentially less intrusive for those subject to searches.
“The force is currently undertaking a mixture of education and enforcement activities to educate young people on the dangers and consequences of carrying and using knives.”
There has been a rise in knife crime in West Lancashire recently and the Champion has reported on incidents across the borough.
Police in Skelmersdale have had to repeatedly use stop and search Section 60 powers following knife-related attacks. Section 60 powers allow police to stop and search people and vehicles without suspicion but are only put in place when police believe violent incidents will take place or weapons will be used.
Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw has previously said the following on the problem of knife crime: “Knives are deadly weapons and time and again we see the tragic impact on people’s lives as a consequence of them being used.
“Lancashire Constabulary do an extremely important job in protecting our communities and carrying out robust enforcement, but it is ultimately through early intervention and prevention work that we can most effectively tackle knife crime and serious violence.”