Walsall’s knife arch will be unveiled today at an official launch of the security screening device by Walsall Council and West Midlands Police (WMP), in conjunction with community partners Walsall Pubwatch.
The knife arch is jointly owned by the Council and WMP and was purchased through an allocation of £4000 from the Safer Walsall partnership fund.
Councillor Ian Shires, Portfolio Holder for Community, Leisure and Culture said: “The knife arch sends a strong message that, as a community, we do not accept any behaviour that seeks to undermine the rights of others to feel safe.
“Raising awareness and tackling issues associated with knives is a challenge for everyone and one of a number of approaches we are developing to embed and deliver our Cohesion and Integration Strategy agreed at Council in November 2017.
“Working with our partners to ensure safe communities is a key priority for the Council, and anything that helps to make residents feel safe and part of a unified and prospering community will support this.
“Walsall Council, WMP and the West Midlands Police Crime Commission are committed to working together along with our partners in the community to promote social cohesion. We have a long history of people of all ages from diverse backgrounds living in harmony in Walsall, and we’re proud of our town. We want people to feel reassured that we will not tolerate anti-social behaviour in Walsall.”
West Midlands Police Superintendent Sue Parker said: “People want to feel safe when they are out in Walsall. West Midlands Police are aware of the increasing public concern around knife crime, not just in the borough but right across the country, which is why we are tackling the issue from all angles; not only detection and enforcement but also public education, undercover operations to stop the unlawful sale of knives to minors and intercepting illegal shipments of knives before they hit the streets.
“The knife arch is as much an education tool as it is a public safety tool. We want young people to realise that there is no good outcome of carrying a knife — if they do, they will be caught and the offence carries very serious consequences. We want to them to know that if they see someone with a knife, they need to tell someone. Education and support from parents and communities are key factors in stopping our young people even thinking of heading out with a knife.”
The knife arch operates in the same way as an airport security scanner; patrons will be required to walk through the arch before being granted entry to a given venue. This increased security measure will be implemented at various pubs and clubs around the borough and will be operated by both WMP officers and venue security staff.
The arch will also be taken to schools and colleges across the borough as part of a wider campaign that sees WMP work with local schools to raise awareness among young people about the danger of carrying knives.
The knife arch will be installed at the Walsall Town Hall for the upcoming boxing event on 3 March.