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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 November, 2003, 12:16 GMT
Police develop weapon scanner
Shooting incidents rose 35% last year
Police are developing a mobile scanner that can detect weapons such as guns and knives being carried under clothing.

The scanner, which is being developed by scientists for Scotland Yard, could help police target offenders before they strike.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard stressed the work was still in the developmental stage and was part of a wide range of new technology being considered by the force.

The spokesman said the force would be using it "as soon as is practicable."

The scheme was initiated by Met Commissioner Sir John Stevens earlier this year as he announced a crack down on gun crime.

Figures show that shooting incidents across England and Wales rose by 35% from 17,589 in 2000-2001 to 22,314 last year.

Before the scanner takes to the streets the police may find they have to convince civil liberties groups concerned that the scanner - which is said to reveal intimate body details - is not an infringement of privacy.

Barry Hugill, of Liberty, said: "It is difficult to see a problem with technology that can actually locate guns and can help protect both police officers and the public from harm."

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