In order to combat the rampant knife crime epidemic which has been plaguing England’s capital for some years now, with the start of 2018 not looking much better in terms of statistics, London authorities decided to create what are known as “knife arches” in McDonald’s restaurants around the city. The trial period was so successful that police are now considering making this a permanent security measure in order to prevent as many people as possible from getting stabbed and potentially losing their life.
According to The London EveningStandard, the initial knife arches were set up in Croydon and Woolwich over the past few months for a period of a few hours throughout the day. The knife arch itself detects metal as people make their way into the restaurant and was manned by a police team of around half a dozen. These authority figures subsequently confiscated any weapons discovered and provided information to visitors regarding the new security measure by passing out leaflets and advising patrons regarding what was or was not acceptable material to bring into the popular fast-food franchise as well as the consequences doing so would have.
Jeff Boothe, Croydon Borough Commander, provided a statement in which he confirmed that the trial period was an immense success and therefore authorities were now developing plans to launch a full rollout of the detectors. The chief superintendent went on to say that the goal of London authorities is to educate youth about the dangers of knife crime, focusing on not only the execution of a stabbing but also around owning the weapon. Authorities were also keen to let the public know that McDonald’s itself is not necessarily seen as a dangerous location, but is simply more on the police’s radar due to the amount of young people who tend to congregate there on a regular basis.
Woolwich Riverside Officers have been working in partnership with #McDonalds today in an anti-knife campaign. A knife arch was implemented as a condition of entry to dissuade the carrying of knives. Stop and searches conducted by the team. #StopKnifeCrime pic.twitter.com/uM3nweE8bm— Woolwich Riverside (@MPSWoolwichRiv) January 15, 2018
So far, 2018 has seen 16 people stabbed to death in London, with six of them being teenagers. The most recent of these fatalities, reveals The Independent, occurred this past Tuesday and resulted in the death of two young men, aged 17 and 20. An 18-year-old was arrested on suspicion of murdering the boys and is also being investigated for stabbing a 16-year-old outside of a London apartment block. One of the deceased was described by witnesses as having been “slashed with a samurai sword,” while the other was stabbed in the chest and lost his life in the arms of his mother. Both men died at the scene despite frantic efforts by first responders to save them. Knife crime in the capital has risen 23 percent, according to figures recently released by The Office for National Statistics.