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Police target railways in knife crackdown

PUBLISHED: 18:02 30 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:45 16 August 2010

POLICE set up metal detectors at railway stations in a bid to curb spiralling knife crime among youngsters in the capital. Some 16 people out of 130 stopped were arrested during Operation Blunt 2 which took place at three railway stations, Bickley, Shor

POLICE set up metal detectors at railway stations in a bid to curb spiralling knife crime among youngsters in the capital.

Some 16 people out of 130 stopped were arrested during Operation Blunt 2 which took place at three railway stations, Bickley, Shortlands and Bromley South last Friday.

Officers set up a tent with metal detecting body scanners and dog handlers walked drug-detecting Spaniels and Labradors around the station entrances.

At Bromley South, undercover 'spotters' selected people aged between 14 and 25 as they got off trains and walked them through the station to the arch where they were searched.

No actual weapons were found during the searches but there were arrests for suspected drug possession, theft, illegal immigration and money laundering.

There were two arrests for possession of class A drugs - both were bailed to return to Bromley police at a later date - and six warnings given for cannabis.

Three arrests were made for suspected illegal immigration, all of which are being dealt with by the border agency and two arrests and charges for people wanted on warrants. One person was also arrested on suspicion of money laundering and two people arrested for theft, one of which was bailed to return and one was given a caution. One 23-year-old from Bromley who was stopped said: "I can appreciate what they are trying to do which is why I don't mind being stopped or disagree, it's fair enough. But I don't know if knife crime is as bad as everyone makes out."

Another 18-year-old man said: "It was annoying because I'm in a rush and they took a while, but it's a good thing I suppose."

Sergeant Daren Metcalf, who was in charge of the 70 police officers stopping and searching, said he was pleased with the operation but added that the public should expect to see more crackdowns in the coming months.

He said: "With knife crime becoming more prevalent we want to send out a message to criminals that we are taking it seriously and won't put up with it.

"The public have been very supportive. They want to feel safe walking through the streets without a risk of being assaulted or robbed."

According to the latest police figures for England and Wales, there were 22,000 serious offences involving knives in 2007 to 2008. So far this year in London, 21 teenagers have died violently. London Mayor Boris Johnson announced £700,000 funding for youth projects and educational programmes to help reduce knife and gun crime on Tuesday.

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