LONDON: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is urging more schools to apply to receive a ‘knife wand,’ a detection device that can check whether someone is carrying a knife.
Mr Khan says the four deaths resulting from stabbings over New Year have reinforced his “determination to rid London’s streets of this scourge.”
A letter has been sent by deputy mayor for policing and crime Sophie Linden to all London schools urging them to take up the mayor’s offer of receiving a ‘knife wand’ paid for by City Hall.
Only 76 of London’s 498 secondary schools have currently got a knife wand.
City Hall has refused to give a breakdown of how many schools in each borough have applied to receive the equipment.
The mayor has again highlighted the “vital role” schools play in the fight to reduce levels of knife crime.
Mr Khan said: “Schools have a vital part to play in our fight against knife crime by creating a safe, positive place for students, spotting danger signs and spreading the message that carrying a knife is more likely to ruin your life than save it.”
Since launching a new knife crime strategy in June, which provided an additionally £625,000 for knife and gang crime projects taking total spending to £7 million, Mr Khan has also increased the number of safer schools officers, who are police officers who are a regular presence on school premises and carry out duties such as giving assemblies.
Met Police assistant commissioner Martin Hewitt said: “Every child should be able to go to school in a safe environment, and the use of knife wands can only have a positive impact.
“Knife crime has a devastating effect – it is only by working together that we can have any meaningful impact on this complex societal issue.”
The mayor has also made £250,000 of seed funding available to London communities to fund work with young people which can “prevent or protect them from knife crime.”
Initiatives such as these work alongside the Met’s “firm policing” approach to taking weapons off the streets, which uses techniques such as targeted, intelligence-led stop and search, as well as knife sweeps and test purchasing operations as part of Operation Sceptre.