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5 February 2010, 05:52 | Updated: 5 February 2010, 06:06
A number of licensed premises in Sudbury are being issued with metal detecting wands, as part of a knife crime awareness campaign in the town
The campaign has a number of different strands, including school visits, community engagement, working with licensees to ensure knives are not taken into licensed premises, and a knife amnesty.
Six wands have been funded by the Babergh Community Safety Partnership and Suffolk Constabulary. Police in Sudbury will make the wands available for use by doorstaff at licensed premises, and Police Officers will also be using them to search persons they suspect of carrying a knife illegally. Each wand can be passed over the clothing of a person and will beep or vibrate when it detects metal, allowing officers or doorstaff to carry out a safe and suitable search.
The four wands which are being given to licensed premises can be used by doorstaff to search people as a condition of entry to the pub or club. Only doorstaff who are accredited by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) are permitted to use the wands.
Selected premises in Sudbury have been loaned the wands for use from tonight, onwards, and the loan scheme means the wands can be shared around the various licensed premises at different times. When they are not in use by pubs and clubs these wands will be available for Police Officers to use.
Acting Sergeant Barry Simpson of the Sudbury and Great Cornard Safer Neighbourhood Team says, “The idea of using metal detecting wands at pubs and clubs in Sudbury came from one of the licensees themselves. The Safer Neighbourhood Team has been working with the licensees, who are all members of the town’s Pubwatch scheme, to introduce the wands, and they have all been very supportive.
“The aim of the metal detecting wands is to prevent and detect anyone attempting to carry knives or other weapons into licensed premises or around the streets of Sudbury. Whilst there isn’t a problem with knife crime in the town, the wands will provide added reassurance for people enjoying a night out.
“The SIA-approved doorstaff will be able to use the wands as a condition of entry, so anyone refusing to be searched with the wand will not be able to go into those premises. I hope that the wands will be regularly used on busy Friday and Saturday nights, to ensure Sudbury’s pubs and clubs remain safe.”
“This whole campaign is very much about keeping Sudbury’s already low levels of knife crime low, and driving down the carrying of knives even lower,” adds Paul Little, Community Safety Manager at the District Council.
“The Community Safety Partnership in Babergh, which includes representatives from a number of agencies, not just the District Council and the Police, were keen to support this initiative, both in terms of joint working and in providing funding. Agencies working together, alongside their communities, have the best chance of making a real impact in making Babergh even safer.”
It is an offence to carry a bladed or pointed article in a public place and the maximum sentence for this offence is four years imprisonment and/or a fine.