Notting Hill Carnival goers will face new security screening under plans put forward today by the Conservative London Mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey to tackle London’s knife crime epidemic.
Mr Bailey said he would introduce “scan and search” technology for big events across the capital as a “non-invasive” alternative to conventional stop and search techniques.
While police officers are making progress in tackling London’s violent crime, Mr Bailey, a former youth worker who acted as an advisor to David Cameron, said that Sadiq Khan’s strategy to tackle crime is failing.
He pointed to the Carnival, which this weekend has been forced to go “virtual” due to the coronavirus pandemic, as an example where the deployment of scan and search technology would help drive down crime.
Since 2016, more than 200 people attending the event have been arrested for carrying weapons – a statistic that Mr Bailey argues shows a “half-hearted approach to cutting crime just doesn’t work.”
It comes a week after Mr Bailey said that companies should conduct random drug tests on their workers to stamp out middle-class cocaine use, which he warned was leading to deaths of young black men on the streets of London.
Under his latest proposals, police officers would be equipped with the latest scanning technology, which will be used to screen members of the public as they enter venues.
The Home Office has already trialled body scanners in several London railway stations, which involves passengers being screened from up to 30ft away without them having to pass through a security checkpoint.
A number of companies are developing the technology, which relies on thermal imaging to identify objects hidden inside clothing that block body heat.
It is hoped that scan and search will not only improve detection rates for weapons but also help to address concerns that young black men are being disproportionately targeted.
Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Bailey said: “Under Sadiq Khan, knife crime is an epidemic. And events like Notting Hill Carnival have suffered as a result.
“As Mayor, I’ll introduce scan and search at big events — a non-invasive way of scanning hundreds of people simultaneously for weapons.
“Removing the physical aspect of a search makes a huge difference. It means police can make our streets safer while improving relations with underrepresented communities.
“The only reason this hasn’t been rolled out across London is a lack of political will. As Mayor, I’ll bring that political will.
“Londoners have a right to safe streets. And it’s the Mayor’s responsibility to deliver them. By introducing scan and search at big events, we’ll cut crime in London and help police build trust with every resident in every community.”
It comes as a new poll finds that 50 per cent of respondents believe Mr Khan is doing a bad job of reducing crime and making the capital safer, compared to just 22 per cent who say he is doing a good job.
The survey of 1,026 people by YouGov also shows that 45 per cent of respondents disagreed with Mr Khan’s decision to outline almost £110m in policing cuts in June, compared with just 28 per cent who said it was the right move.
Mr Khan said at the time that the Metropolitan Police and the London Fire Brigade faced the smallest cuts, but warned they could be inevitable without a Government bailout to plug a £500m in City Hall’s finances.
By 49 per cent to 17 per cent, Londoners believe the Mayor is also doing a bad job at building affordable homes, while 41 per cent believe he has done a bad job on reducing overcrowding on public transport, compared to 29 per cent who approved of his efforts.