Weapon arches planned for Bexley schools
PUBLISHED: 09:50 13 October 2011 | UPDATED: 10:56 13 October 2011
»Police are planning to use weapon arches in schools permanently as well as in the Broadway, Bexleyheath, to detect knives.
»Police are planning to use weapon arches in schools permanently as well as in the Broadway, Bexleyheath, in a bid to detect knives.
This was discussed before the fatal stabbing of Sally Hodkin, 59, on Monday morning in the Broadway.
Plans which are currently under discussion with headteachers, police and Bexley Council, include taking mobile weapon arches into secondary schools across the borough, unannounced.
Cabinet member for public realm and community safety, Cllr Peter Craske said: “We welcome these new initiatives and will be working with the police and providing our full support wherever we can.”
A weapon arch was used in the Broadway, Bexleyheath, in the first two weeks of this school term which police say received positive feedback from residents and school children. But police confirmed no weapons were found as people went through the arch voluntarily.
These latest plans come after the murder of Yemurai Kanyangarara, 16, who was stabbed in broad daylight, in Welling on July 1, sparking a special meeting of the Crime and Disorder Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting in September, to discuss youth crime.
The agenda for last Wednesday’s committee meeting revealed that Bexley’s borough commander Dave Stringer told the special September meeting that despite the borough having the lowest levels of crime in London, there was a high fear of crime that needed to be addressed.
Police are also planning to use weapon arches in hub areas such as the Broadway in Bexleyheath and introduce a barrier queuing system at bus stops in the town centre.
A spokesman for the police said: “The use of them routinely within schools at key times such as the start and end of the school term is still under discussion and in consultation with school heads.
“However, if a school requested police to deploy the search arch police would facilitate this.
“It is possible further arches could be purchased should there be an increase in demand. The arches will be operated jointly with police and school staff.”