London mayoral candidate Susan Hall wants officers armed with knife wands

8 April 2024, 14:05 | Updated: 8 April 2024, 14:32

Susan Hall is against reducing stop and search
Susan Hall is against reducing stop and search. Picture: Getty Images

By Flaminia Luck

Susan Hall, the Conservative mayoral candidate for London, has called for police to carry knife wands amid rising knife crime.

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Ms Hall said we have to get a "grip on crime in London" and wants all officers to be armed with a knife wand.

The device, often used at airports, can be used to detect whether people are carrying knives, weapons or other concealed metal objects.

"That would be ideal as some communities that don't want police officers putting their hands in their pockets etc would feel much more comfortable if a kife wand is just waved across somebody.

"They can then see if they're carrying a knife or a gun," she said.

Susan Hall wants officers armed with a knife wand
Susan Hall wants officers armed with a knife wand. Picture: Getty

Ms Hall also said she is the "opposite" of some candidates who have called for a reduction in the use of the tactic, when quizzed by reporter Fraser Knight on Monday.

Stop and search is a controversional method of searching individuals if a police officer has "reasonable grounds" to suspect they may be carrying items such as illegal drugs or a weapon.

She described the practice as a "very, very good method of getting knives of our streets".

"I cannot imagine any Londoner would not think it's a good idea getting knives of our streets with knife crime rising," she said.

Read more: Murder probe after 15-year-old boy stabbed to death at shopping centre

Stop and search is considered controversial because some argue that black people and other ethnic minority groups are targeted unfairly.

In the year to April 2022, police made 27 stop and searches for every 1,000 black people, compared with six for every 1,000 white people, data shows.

Ms Hall also said she wants to get "trust and confidence" back in the police, and wants to put more officers on the streets.

Sadiq Khan And Rachel Reeves Launch New London Growth Plan
Sadiq Khan has criticised the use of stop and search in the past. Picture: Getty

Mr Khan has previously said that he supports the police deploying stop and search powers "provided they are used lawfully, proportionately and with professionalism".

He also said he recognised "the disproportionate impact stop and search can have on some communities", adding that it was "vital" that the Met had "the trust and confidence of all Londoners."

Read more: Detectives hunt student 'influencer' over murder after mother, 27, was stabbed to death in Bradford beside her baby

Last year, Met Commissioner Mark Rowley said stop and search is in the police "armoury" but can burn through trust.

The comment came after Suella Braverman urged police to increase the use of the method to stop the "scourge" of weapons on the streets.

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