COPS are using “pop up” metal detector knife arches on London’s streets as a stabbing crisis grips the UK.
The portable metal detector was deployed in busy Soho last night, with pedestrians forced to walk through it to proceed down a narrow alleyway.
Those who were seen turning away were then searched by officers.
Last night cops detained three people for possessing drugs but none over knives.
Cops then moved the battery-powered arch to other areas to remain unpredictable.
Westminster Chief Inspector Andy Brittain said: “The idea of it is to show the community that we are responding to their concerns around knife crime, and we use it to prevent knife crime and also to detect knife crime.
“The beauty of this, and this narrow alleyway, is we will see those that turn around and try to walk the other way.
The idea of it is to show the community that we are responding to their concerns around knife crime, and we use it to prevent knife crime and also to detect knife crime
Westminster Chief Inspector Andy Brittain
“We have plain-clothed police officers at each end who will pick up on what we call a turnaround.”
The fresh measures come amid an alarming surge in crime after two teenagers were murdered in a single week.
Met Police chief Cressida Dick yesterday linked falling police numbers with a rise in violent crime.
Earlier she said she would not rule out asking troops to help battle the menace on London’s streets.
City Hall figures show Westminster is among the worst-hit boroughs in London for knife offences, with 922 recorded in the 12 months to January 2019.
Across the UK, the number of offences invoving knives or sharp instruments has increased by 30 per cent since 2011.
Asked if he has ever known the levels of knife crime to be this bad, Chief Inspector Brittain said: “I think we have gone through stages in the past when it has been quite bad.
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“But this is really alarming, we all take it really personally every time someone dies – particularly in my area.
“First thing in the morning I am looking to see what has happened overnight.
“We do care passionately about the local community, so it is a worry, the time we are in at the moment.”
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