Cops equipped with metal detector ‘wands’ in move to tackle knife crime
Frontline West Midlands Police officers are to be equipped with metal detecting ‘wands’ in the latest move designed to tackle knife crime.
Eighty knife wands will be distributed to emergency response vehicles having been purchased by the force through its Asset Recovery Fund − money that’s been seized from criminals.
It’s the first time response cops have been equipped with the metal detecting devices which will be used to support their stop and search powers and to take weapons off the streets.
Chief Superintendent Chris Todd − West Midlands Police’s 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 detainees and also during dedicated operations − but this is the first time response units will be routinely equipped with knife wands.
The £8,000 investment is from the force’s Asset Recovery Fund which comprises money which has been seized by police under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, 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."