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Screening system that can detect weapons under clothes trialled at London station

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A screening technology that can detect hidden weapons on people is to be deployed at Stratford Underground Station as part of police efforts to cut knife crime.

Developed by Oxford-based company Thruvision, a five-day trial of the “passive terahertz technology” will take place. The system has already been vetted and approved by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and is already in operation on the Los Angeles Metro.

British retailers such as Next and JD Sports have already deployed the technology to check staff exiting company warehouses.

Following deployment, police at Stratford should be able to detect knives at distances of up to 9 metres without interfering with travel flow, eliminating the need for physical pat-downs.

It will show the size, shape and location of any concealed items that block a person’s body heat, although Thruvision noted that it is “non-intrusive” and “does not show any intimate body parts”.

“We are proud to be working with British Transport Police on this critical initiative, and we are confident our safe and non-intrusive technology can assist the police in tackling knife crime in the UK,” said Colin Evans, CEO of Thruvision.

“Our technology uniquely overcomes a key security challenge inherent to rail and underground networks – effectively detecting concealed weapons while maintaining traveller flow through often congested stations.”

The Home Office has spent around £40,000 on the scheme which is being used by British Transport and Metropolitan Police officers.

Kit Malthouse, the minister for crime and policing, said the Government was “pulling out all the stops in the battle against knife crime” and the equipment shows technology can have “an enormous impact on public safety”, adding: “No-one should feel they can walk the streets with a knife and expect to get away with it.”

Siwan Hayward, director of compliance and policing at Transport for London (TfL), said: “London’s transport network is a safe, low-crime environment and we are committed to working with the police to ensure it stays that way.

“We want to stop anyone bringing a knife or a weapon onto London’s public transport. This technology trial will help the police best achieve our aim.”

Earlier this month statistics showed that crime is increasing on British railways with a 12 per cent increase in violent and sexual offences.

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