POLICE are giving bouncers metal detectors in a knife crime crackdown.
Pub-goers will be electronically frisked on nights out in a new scheme.
Hundreds of revellers could be asked to step aside for the security checks before being able to enjoy a quiet drink or a night on the tiles.
The move, introduced in Chester-le-Street this week, is among measures brought in to combat knife crime and drink-fuelled violence.
Door staff at bars and clubs lining the County Durham town's busy Front Street will be armed with the handheld devices, handed out by Durham Police.
Using conflict management training, bouncers will stop and search anyone they suspect could be concealing a weapon.
The body scanners, currently in place at about 12 bars, have been paid for using funding of Å25,000 from the area's Community Safety Partnership. Paul Mileham, manager of Bar Barracuda in Front Street, Chester-le-Street, will be using the scanners for the first time this weekend.
He said: "I think bringing in the scanners is a good thing because of the rise in knife crime. However, my worry is that it could alienating those customers who don't want to be searched.
"How do you decide who should and should not be searched?
"All door staff will need to be selective and look at this issue carefully.
"There is the worry the national knife crime issue could escalate.
"Having the body scanners sends out a clear warning to young people and those carrying knives that they will be searched, caught and prosecuted."
There are plans for the paddle-shaped scanners to be handed out to bar managers and landlords in other parts of Durham in the next few months.
They follow the widespread distribution of polycarbonate glasses, which look like glass but can't be broken and used as weapons.
Durham Police's licensing officer Sam Level said: "We wanted to spend the money on ways to help the night-time industry.
"The reality is that knife crime is not a big issue in our area, but is on the rise nationally.
"These scanners will provide an extra deterrent and that is something that will be welcomed by both licensees and the public."
Other methods currently in the pipeline to help curb booze-fuelled crime could include bringing in talking CCTV cameras in Chester-le-Street, similar to those in place at Stanley's bus station.
Social responsibility packs will also be going to all licensed premised in Chester-le-Street outlining the measures that can be taken to curb problems caused by excess alcohol.