Police in Lancashire are carrying ‘knife wands’ for the first time, in a bid to tackle the rise of knife crime.
With funding from the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner, 25 wands have been allocated to officers using police secure vans across Preston, Chorley, South Ribble and West Lancashire. The hand-held metal detectors will be used alongside traditional stop and search techniques.
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.”
He added: “We take all reports of offences involving a knife extremely seriously and we will continue to use all the powers at our disposal where we identify there is an issue.”
The force is also currently undertaking a mixture of education and enforcement activities to inform young people on the dangers and consequences of carrying knives.
In July, it was revealed that knife crime in Lancashire hit a record high in 2018/19, up 33 per cent on the previous year, official figures show.
Police recorded 1,151 offences involving knives or sharp objects in the county in the year to March 2019, up from 867 in the previous twelve months - placing the county fifth worst in the country.