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Essex use new mobile weapons detectors for street ops

Officers have been using the OpenGate appliance for a month so far, in what is being called a “first in the country”.

Officers from the Southend Community Policing Team are reportedly the first in the country to use the OpenGate system. 

Comprising two freestanding poles that are five feet high, the structure is easier to transport that the more conventional knife arches. 

The force has said that in the past month thousands of people have passed through the gate and a number of weapons recovered. 

The system was funded through the city’s Community Safety Partnership. 

Inspector Paul Hogben of the Southend Community Policing Team said: “The OpenGate is so much better for street tactics than what we’ve had previously. We can deploy it far more often than we could a knife arch and the feedback from members of the public has been fantastic.

“We’re able to demonstrate that it’s not just a metal detector, we’re looking for weapons and people are reassured by that.

"The OpenGate makes the city a more hostile place for these people to operate. They can’t predict when and where they might turn a corner and walk straight into a deployment.

“We’ve detected knives and picked up weapons where people have seen the deployment and discarded them before they’ve got to it. We’ve also seized a lot of nitrous oxide canisters.”

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