Birmingham & Black Country

West Midlands Police use 'wands' to fight knife crime

Metal detecting 'wand' Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption West Midlands response officers are being equipped with the metal detecting "wands" for the first time

Police officers in the West Midlands have been given metal-detecting "knife wands" in an attempt to tackle knife crime.

Eighty officers will be equipped with the scanners to search people suspected of carrying weapons.

The devices have been funded through the Assets Recovery Fund - money that has been seized from criminals.

The West Midlands has recorded the highest number of knife offences outside London.

Figures showed there were 65 per 100,000 of the population.

In London in 2016-17 there were 137 offences per 100,000 people.

Ch Supt Chris Todd said it meant more than half of the force's response cars would carry the knife wands.

They have been used previously in custody blocks but is the first time response units will be equipped with them.

"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," he said.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said knife crime had increased by 75% since 2012.

"It means police are spending more and more time tackling the problem," he said.

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