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Body heat scanners used on the LA Metro are deployed in London

Scanners used on the Los Angeles Metro to detect deadly weapons are being trialled in London in a bid to tackle the knife crime epidemic.The space age technology works by revealing objects that block body heat and can detect concealed weapons including knives, guns and even explosive devices from a distance of 30 feet.It is hoped the equipment will allow police officers to identify suspects carrying knives in busy areas without the need for body searches.A trial of the technology – which was developed  began on Monday at Stratford station in east London, the scene of a number of violent incidents in the past.The initial five day pilot, which is being run by the British Transport Police (BTP), comes in the wake of a number of fatal stabbings across the capital in recent weeks.Minister for Crime, Policing and Fire, Kit Malthouse, said: “We are pulling out all the stops in a battle against knife crime in London and across the country. “20,000 more police officers will help but new technology can make an enormous impact on public safety, as this equipment shows.“No one should feel they can walk the streets with a knife and expect to get away with it.” Assistant Chief Constable Robin Smith from the British Transport Police, said: “Fortunately, knife crime on the rail network is very low, however we recognise the important role our Force plays in identifying those intent on carrying lethal weapons to commit atrocious crimes.  “In support of the Home Office and other police forces, we are keen to explore how technology can assist us in tackling violent crime head on. We are pleased to partner with them in trialing the Thruvision technology at Stratford station.”  Transport Security Minister, Baroness Vere, said: “Improving safety at stations is paramount to ensuring that everyone can use our railways with confidence, and technology should be at the forefront of that mission. This innovative trial is part of this Government’s wider crackdown on knife crime.”The technology enables police officers to see the size, shape and location of any concealed item. It does not show any intimate body parts and it is impossible to tell an individual’s gender, age or ethnicity from the imagery it produces. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more