Police will use airport-style metal detector arches and sniffer dogs across Leicester and the wider county over the Bank Holiday weekend to track down people carrying knives or drugs.
The tactics were announced today by Leicestershire’s Chief Constable Simon Cole in response to criticism by campaigners of the force’s response to recent high-profile incidents of knife crime.
He said his officers are taking action against violent crime, including offences involving knives, ‘every day’.
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This weekend, extra officers, including members of the volunteer Special Constabulary will be out on patrol throughout the weekend, Mr Cole said.
Officers will check on pubs and bars to ensure they are running safely and use powers to order troublemakers to leave the city – which has seen two stabbings, one fatal, in the past few days – for up to 48 hours, Mr Cole said.
The section 34 dispersal order allowing police to force troublemakers to leave the city centre came into force at 6pm today.
A section 60 – which would allow police to stop and search anyone within a certain area – is also being considered if required over the long weekend.
Campaigners Amy Morgan and her sister Natalie Holt wrote to Mr Cole this week to highlight what they believe to be a lack of urgent action on knife crime.
In a letter to Leicestershire Police and the wider community, they wrote: “Leicester is constantly being tarnished with knife crime.
“All we ever hear is, the police are doing this or doing that, but never do we see action.
“If the police are acting on knife crime as much as they say they are, many more people would still be alive today and less people would be injured and mentally and emotionally scarred for life.”
In his response, which he also shared with LeicestershireLive, Mr Cole said: “We have been doing, and continue to do, lots to seek to combat knife crime.
“I know that my colleagues and the Violence Reduction Network continue to work to combat knife crime.
“Please be reassured that we are very focused on violent crime, and are taking actions every day.”
Also, this weekend, police officers will be joined at the Clock Tower, in the city centre, by members of St John Ambulance.
Amy, whose 16-year-old son, Tyler Thompson, was stabbed to death in the city in November 2015, is calling on police forces to make greater use of emergency stop and search powers.
The mum, from Thurnby Lodge, Leicester runs a wider campaign calling for tougher sentences for those found guilty of using a knife to assault another person or for the offence of unlawful possession of a blade. She wants any such change in legislation to be known as Tyler’s Law, in memory of her son.
It has won significant support among politicians and celebrities alike.
Her petition – which can be found here – has been signed by more than 83,000 people.
Currently, adults convicted of possessing a knife can expect a minimum of six months in jail.
She is calling for the sentence to be raised to between three and five years.
Tyler Thompson was fatally stabbed in 2015 in Freeman Road North, off Uppingham Road by the then 19-year-old Pravdit Sian.
Sian later pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was jailed for nine years in October 2016.