London, Jan 21 : Airport-style metal detectors could soon be fitted in schools in the UK in a bid to detect pupils carrying knives.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has supported the idea of using such detectors in some of the country's toughest schools.
According to reports, the measure is expected to form the centrepiece of the Government's new action plan for tacking violence, which will be unveiled next month by Smith.
"We can build on some of the initiatives we have already seen, the British Transport Police using search arches for example," The Sun quoted Smith, telling BBC1's Andrew Marr Show.
"I think it is a good idea if we look at the ways in which in some schools it might be appropriate to use search arches."
"I want young people to know that it doesn't make them safer to carry a knife - it actually makes them more likely to be a victim," she added.
According to reports, ministers were desperate to encourage the use of detectors in some of the worst affected cities, including London, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham.
The plan reportedly has the support of senior police officers and head teachers who persuaded Smith that the effectiveness of the detectors in tackling knife crime outweighed any concerns regarding pupil safety.
John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, said: "There are schools serving areas where knife crime is high in the community and it's right that these schools take measures to protect pupils, but this is a very small number."
The plan emerged after it was revealed that the number of under-18s convicted or cautioned for crimes of violence has increased by more than a third in just three years.
Keeping the figures in mind, Smith said: "Let's be clear about those figures, what that is an increase in the number of young people who have committed offences who have been brought to justice.
"It is an increase in the numbers of those caught and convicted - not in the number of crimes, which actually, figures suggest have remained broadly stable," she added.