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Portable Metal Detector Arch Improves Safeguarding in School


Knife crime in the UK is a growing concern, especially for youngsters and those responsible for keeping them safe and secure. In this post we demonstrate how Insight Security, in partnership with the Police and a local school, have used portable metal detection equipment to make the school a safe, knife-free environment.

Knife Crime in the UK

There is growing concern that knife crime in the UK is fast becoming an epidemic. The increasing problem of knife crime is evident from the frequency of news reports which we are seeing almost daily. Over the 12 months up to March 2021 there were 235 police recorded murders involving knives or sharp instruments. And over the subsequent 12 months, to March 2022, knife crime in England and Wales escalated by 10%, the largest percentage increase in offences since 2019. Sadly, 27 teenagers were murdered with knives or sharp objects during 2021 in London alone.

Why Young People Carry Knives

It`s important to be aware of how concerns over knife crime are not only felt by adults but also by young people and children. Research has shown that children in the UK today are more fearful of crime than adults. This was demonstrated by the 2018 UK Youth Parliament “Make Your Mark” ballot in which 1.1million children took part. A significant proportion came from Hampshire where knife crime was voted the top concern for young people.

Ongoing national and regional research continues to examine the root causes of why young people are carrying knives. Some of the primary factors known to prompt young people to carry knives are these:

  • County lines
    • Organised criminal drug networks.
  • Gang affiliation
    • Personal protection and status.
  • Media attention and glamorisation
    • Fear of crime
  • Fear of being attacked
    • Victimised by bullies.
  • Self protection.
    • Peer pressure
  • Perception that most young people carry knives.

A major concern is that if a young person carries a knife they will almost definitely use it:

  • if they feel the need to protect themselves,
  • if they commit a crime,
  • if they want to cause fear - or
  • if they want to demonstrate their status or reinforce their reputation.

Unfortunately, many children who carry knives do so because they are already victimised. They might be victims of criminal exploitation and gang pressures or they might be fearful of being pressurised, victimised, coerced or bullied. Growing up in a culture that exposes them to significant pressures, including coercion and control, makes it wrong to consider them all as antisocial, violent criminals. Many young people who carry knives do so out of fear, a sad indictment of the society in which they are growing up.

Safeguarding in Schools

Children need to feel safe and secure when at school. This is why schools have safeguarding policies and procedures to ensure those in their care are protected from harm.

Research has shown that the level of violence involving knives in schools is relatively low and the most dangerous time period for children is between 4pm and 6pm, after they have left school for the day. Schools are recognising the potential for knife crime in their safeguarding agendas and many are using a variety of initiatives, including working with local police forces and other agencies, to discourage children from carrying knives.

gatescan metal detector at school
Portable Gatescan Metal Detector Arch at School Entrance


Partnership with the Police

Working in partnership with police forces, Schools are able to teach and raise awareness of the dangers and risks associated with knives. They help youngsters develop the skills and understanding they need to deal with risky and challenging situations and provide the help and advice they need.

Insight Security is pleased to have been supporting a local school and Sussex police force in their anti-knife-crime agenda. The school already has a very proactive approach to safeguarding, with a strict site access control policy in which the gates are closed at 08:29, restricting school access to just one route.

The school also already operates a highly effective mobile phone policy that disallows the use of mobile phones on the school premises throughout the academy day. Every student is assigned their own, personal Yondr pouch in which they are required to secure their mobile phones as they enter the school, witnessed by a member of staff. When they depart for home they are able to open the wallets and remove their phones. Every student is responsible for the care and maintenance of their Yondr wallets which remain school property.

The school is working with Sussex police to de-glamorise knife-carrying and reduce the potential for knife crime. The aim has been to ensure the school is a safe, knife-free environment in which pupils feel secure, unthreatened and able to focus on their education.

Various tactics have been used including role play sessions involving virtual reality software, enabling students to gain valuable experience and skills in dealing with challenging situations. Another enormously powerful tactic has been the introduction of a portable, walkthrough metal detecting knife arch, supplied by Insight Security.

The portable metal detector arch was setup at the school entrance and all students were required to walk through it, after emptying their pockets of any metal objects such as keys or coins. If the arch detected any metal objects the subject was then scanned again using a handheld metal detector wand to isolate exactly where the metal object was located.

Metal Detection is a Powerful Deterrent

The police and school agree that the presence of a metal detector at a school entrance acts as a powerful deterrent, discouraging any student from entering the school premises while carrying a concealed weapon. Police officers stationed themselves close to the school entrance where they could observe youngsters as they approached, enabling them to spot anyone attempting to conceal items in bushes near the school entrance.

Students, parents and carers have welcomed this initiative which is clearly contributing to the school’s excellent safeguarding procedures. Much like their mobile phone policy that ensures the school is a phone-free educational space, the metal detection process ensures the school is also free from the threat of knives.

The metal detector arch isn’t intended to be a permanent fixture, which is why the portable knife arch from Insight Security was ideal. It`s intended to be deployed by the school and Sussex police at random times, without warning to the students, as this is recognised as a highly effective deterrence technique.

portable metal detector arch
Gatescan Portable Metal Detector Arch

Gatescan Portable Knife Arch

The Gatescan-P portable metal detector arch from Insight Security is recognised as one of the most versatile metal detection systems available today. Weighing only 40kg and reducing to a size of only 93cm x 58cm x 66cm when dismantled, this exceptional system can be carried in an average size hatch back and quickly erected in under 5 minutes by just one person.

The arch has been specifically designed for use in demanding environments, both indoors and outside. When erected it stands 223.5cm tall with a width of 117cm and depth of just 86.5cm enabling it to be used in relatively confined spaces. Set up and operation is simple as the metal detector carries out automated self test and calibration when it`s switched on. Metal detection is effective from head to toe with zone specific detection capabilities telling the operator where metal has been located.

gatescan knife arch deconstructed
Gatescan Portable Metal Detector Arch - Collapsed for Transport


Here’s what one of our valued customers has said about our Gatescan portable metal detector arch:

I have found the Gate Scan to be very easy to use, and was really affective at our Winter Arts Market over the weekend. Adjusted the settings to detect exactly what we wanted it to, which prevented any unnecessary queueing due to false detections. The Gate Scan is extremely mobile and fits in any doorway, which helps when using various entrances for events. Would recommend this product to other Cathedrals

Les McKenna

Hand Held Metal Detector Wand

As noted, the Gatescan portable metal detector arch, supplied by Insight Security for use in the school, was accompanied by a hand held metal detector wand. This simple device enables the operator to home-in on any metal object identified by the portable knife-arch, to determine exactly where it is located on the subject’s body.

Portable Metal Detectors Prevent Knife Crime

People are accustomed to security checks at airports and transport hubs so the use of portable metal detectors in other situations isn’t experienced as an inconvenience. Schools have an immense responsibility in keeping children safe and establishing a secure learning environment in which every student can thrive, without the worry of potential violence.

Portable metal detection systems are also being used at night clubs, concert venues and other locations where they demonstrate a proactive approach to security and provide the public with reassurance. These systems also boost the safety of door security staff who are often on the front line in dealing with people carrying weapons.

If you have any questions about security metal detectors or if you need a portable system remember we are here to help. Give us a call on 01273 475500 and we’ll be happy to provide free, expert advice.

This message was added on Thursday 13th October 2022


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