A controversial metal detector has been installed in a McDonald’s in Croydon in south London. The Metropolitan Police say it’s part of a strategy to crack down on knife crime in the area, and that diners won’t be forced to walk through it, leaving it up to the restaurant to ‘decide how the arch is enforced’.
McDonald’s on Church Street isn’t the only place in London where new knife arches have been put in place. Residents have been divided over one recently put up outside Crystal Palace station, and a metal detector was also spotted at Hayes & Harlington station in west London.
The weapon detectors are part of a wider initiative by the Met called Operation Cleveland, which aims to tackle violent crime in west Croydon. The operation involves dog patrols, weapons sweeps and officers being given greater stop-and-search powers. It was launched in February 2021 after an attack in the borough in which eight people were stabbed and one killed. In that year, five teenagers were fatally stabbed in Croydon.
The Met has continually defended its use of stop-and-search despite research showing that it disproportionately targets Black people in England and Wales. However, Met Police commissioner Sir Mark Rowley yesterday admitted that stop-and-search left the force’s relationship with the Black community ‘amongst the worst, if not the worst’. He added that the policy ‘burns through trust’ and the Met can no longer ‘afford to do it as we do it today’.
A spokesperson for Croydon Town Centre police said: ‘Officers on Operation Cleveland were working in conjunction with McDonald’s Church Street yesterday afternoon supported by a metal detector to aid in the issues seen in the area.’
A McDonald’s spokesperson said: ‘At McDonald’s, we want to be a good neighbour in the communities we serve. We have a strong working relationship with the local police in Croydon and our restaurants support them with a number of initiatives to tackle issues and make Croydon a more welcoming place for everyone.’
The Met hasn’t yet commented on why it chose McDonald’s as the site for the new metal detector.
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