A five-day police trial has begun on the use of specialised technology to detect knives in public places.
The Home Office has announced that is taking place at Stratford station, east London and run by British Transport Police, with support from the Metropolitan Police, as part of the Government’s campaign against knife crime.
The technology, which is already used on the Los Angeles Metro, is made by British company Thruvision and can detect weapons including guns, knives and explosive devices concealed under clothing at distances of up to 30 feet.
It works on a lower frequency than conventional infra-red cameras so that it detects where an object such a knife is preventing body heat from emerging from a subject.
Siwan Hayward, director of compliance and policing at Transport for London, said: “The trial will look at how officers can use technology to detect if an individual is carrying a knife without causing any personal disruption, such as stopping the individual or requiring them to empty their pockets.
“It will enable the Home Office, British Transport Police and the Metropolitan Police to consider whether such technologies can play a significant role in efforts to combat knife crime.”
Minister for Crime, Policing and Fire Kit Malthouse, said: “We are pulling out all the stops in a battle against knife crime, in London and across the country. 20,000 more police officers will help but new technology can make an enormous impact on public safety, as this equipment shows.
“No one should feel they can walk the streets with a knife and expect to get away with it.”
The Home Office’s Joint Security and Resilience Centre (JSaRC) is providing approximately £40,000 to deliver the trial and will continue to explore other technologies through collabrating with other government departments and industry.
Earlier this year the Government pledged £460,000 to develop technologies for detecting people carrying knives in crowded places under the Defence and Security Accelerator programme.
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