POLICE officers in Dorset are being issued with metal detectors in a bid to clampdown on knives and others concealed weapons.
Frontline officers will be equipped with the handheld wands as part of a national crackdown on knife crime.
The metal detectors have been distributed to teams across Dorset and will be used to support stop and search powers as part of Operation Sceptre, a national initiative to tackle knife crime which will run until Sunday (November 19).
The wands will not replace the requirement for a physical search but be used as a screening device available to officers already conducting a lawful and justified physical search of a person following their arrest, according to Dorset Police.
Assistant Chief Constable Neil Corrigan said: “These metal detecting wands are a new initiative in Dorset that form part of our wider work to tackle knife crime and makes it more difficult for people to conceal and use weapons in Dorset.
“I want to reassure the public that tackling knife crime is a key priority and while both serious violence and knife crime are falling in Dorset, our work remains ongoing. The use of these wands, alongside operations such as Sceptre and high visibility patrols in Dorset, are driving down knife crime and educating people about the dangers of carrying a knife.”
Throughout the week of action for Operation Sceptre, all 43 police forces will take part in intensified efforts to crack down on knife crime.
Dorset Police is providing knife surrender bins at Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth Police Stations for those wishing to get rid of unwanted knives.
The theme for the week is around online knife retailers and raising awareness of what packages are being sent to young people at home.
Assistant Chief Constable Corrigan added: “We would always encourage people to report information about knife carriers, but I would like to reassure the public that this is not just about us wanting to catch more young people with knives, it is about protecting young people from harm and educating them about the dangers.
“We take knife crime very seriously and will pursue those who carry knives and commit offences with weapons, to remove knives from the streets of Dorset.”
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, David Sidwick, added: “We know the damage knife crime can wreak on our communities, and I have listened to the public, asked what more could be done and taken action to provide the resources needed by officers.
“This has included funding knife wands for every police car in the county and working with the force to introduce a knife arch to help in our fight against knife crime across Dorset.
“I am absolutely determined Dorset Police have the equipment and resources to tackle knife crime.
“As well as the work officers will be conducting to target those habitual knife carriers, I am pleased to see a targeted focus on prevention and educating young people.
“I know that enforcement alone will not prevent some young people carrying knives, which is why the work of our Safer Schools Community Team is so vital in the fight to protect our communities.
“During Operation Sceptre, I will be out and about with officers, as well as visiting with the Safer Schools Team during their engagements to show my support for the work they are doing to ensure Dorset is the safest county.”
Anyone with information or concerns about someone carrying a knife can report it to Dorset Police online via dorset.police.uk, or through Crimestoppers UK on 0800 555 111.
Parents can seek advice about their child’s welfare at Parent Talk – Support for Parents from Action For Children.
Retailers can visit www.nbcc.police.uk/knifeguidance for guidance on selling knives.