Police placed a metal-detecting ‘knife arch’ at a Croydon branch of McDonald’s on Wednesday – the site of a recent fatal stabbing – as part of continuing efforts to reduce knife crime in the area.
The metal detector was installed at the entrance to the restaurant in North End from 4pm to 6pm. While use of the device was optional, all customers except children were invited to pass through it.
A spokesperson for Metropolitan Police told East London Lines: “[Searches] are an extremely important power when properly used. That’s why we have invested much time and money to train our officers in how to use [them] fairly and effectively. Our job as police is to protect people, prevent crime and bring offenders to justice.”
Great support from everyone out & about in #Croydon Town centre as we ran our knife arch operation tonight. Thank you!
As police officers, safeguarding young people in Croydon is our priority & our aim with this was to highlight to young people the danger of carrying knives. pic.twitter.com/TLK7azzE6b
— Croydon MPS (@MPSCroydon) November 22, 2017
Police officers and fast-food workers handed out leaflets on knife crime prevention throughout McDonald’s ‘rush hour’ as students left school and people finished work. They also answered questions from customers about how the security measure made Croydon safer.
The North End branch of McDonald’s was the site of knife crime in October when Aren Mali, 17, was fatally stabbed outside after an argument spilled out of the eatery. Two teenagers have since been charged with his murder.
Met Police confirmed that the knife arch may reappear in the future. However, residents expressed dissatisfaction with the initiative on social media.
@HybridTheory79 said: “Waste of time and money. There’s another bloody entrance to the side of the building anyway.”
Waste of time and money. There’s another bloody entrance to the side of the building anyway. https://t.co/MpDOAkVIyI
— NM (@HybridTheory79) November 23, 2017
@grahamm118 said: “What a waste of resources as it was for one afternoon only. And how many knife carriers are so stupid to knowingly walk thru the arch with 6 police standing nearby. Even the thickest #Croydon #chav can probably work that one out.”
Totally agree. What a waste of resources as it was for one afternoon only. And how many knife carriers are so stupid to knowingly walk thru the arch with 6 police standing nearby. Even the thickest #Croydon #chav can probably work that one out.🍔🍟
— Graham Mitchell (@grahamm118) November 23, 2017
A Met Police spokesperson said: “This has had good feedback in other boroughs and at this stage it is just a trial. Wednesday’s results will be reviewed and dependant on feedback we may look to plan another. It will not be a daily operation.”
Knife crime in Croydon reached a four-year high in March this year.