Police are to be issued with mobile airport-style metal detectors to help them clamp down on knife crime, it was revealed yesterday.
The move, part of a Tackling Violence Action Plan to be unveiled by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith today, will also include measures designed to prevent binge drinkers moving on to commit crimes of violence.
Ms Smith will announce new resources for hundreds of metal-detecting arches and search wands in local communities.
It is understood that the mobile arches will be collapsible and small enough to be taken in the boot of a police car for use outside pubs, clubs or schools or wherever there are fears knives are present.
The plan comes amid increasing concern about drunken violence on the streets of Britain, as well as the escalation in the use of knives, which were linked to 258 deaths in 2006/07 compared with 219 the previous year.
Developed with police, it will focus on the links between violent crime and alcohol.
The Home Office says that, while just one per cent of crime involves serious violence, alcohol plays a part in almost half of violent incidents.
Ms Smith will say that she is determined not to let violent offenders get away with wrecking lives by stopping them from committing crimes in the first place.
Police, health workers, social services and councils will be asked to share information on individuals and addresses linked to binge drinking and violence in order to identify problems and develop a response at an early stage.
A £1 million campaign will be launched this summer to warn youngsters that - far from making them safer, as many believe - carrying a knife heightens their chances of becoming a victim of violence.
Measures in the plan will build on recent moves to clamp down on retailers who sell alcohol to under-18s, new police powers to confiscate cans and bottles from teenagers below the age limit and publicity campaigns to promote safer drinking.
The maximum sentence for carrying a knife was last year increased from two years to four.
A Home Office spokesman said: "The Government takes knife crime extremely seriously.
"Last year we increased the maximum sentence for carrying a knife from two to four years and whilst sentencing is a matter for the courts we expect anyone who might consider carrying a knife to be sent a clear message about the consequences.
"Sentencing guidelines also state that when a weapon is used to frighten or injure a victim prison sentences should be increased even further.
"We are actively working with the police to deliver a tough approach to dealing with knife crime.
"This summer there will also be a brand new £1 million campaign aimed at warning youngsters of the dangers of carrying a knife. In addition there will be new police resources for hundreds of knife arches and search wands in local communities."
Shadow cabinet member Liam Fox told Sky News' Sunday Live: "How often have we had relaunches of policy on violent crime under this Government... yet violent crime continues to increase year on year in this country.
"This, from a Government that has been putting that at the centre of its programme, is a pretty poor record."