Tories Push to Expand Police ‘Stop and Search’ Powers, Target Acid Amid Crime Wave

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 12: (EDITORS NOTE: Part of this image has been pixellated to obscure identity)Suspects are detained and searched by police officers after being arrested for alleged possession of a dangerous weapon near Elephant and Castle Station during Operation Sceptre on July 12, 2017 in London, England. Operation …
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The Home Secretary is pushing to significantly expand police ‘stop and search’ after Theresa May rolled back the practice before a dramatic rise in violent crime.

Sajid Javid is reportedly planning to allow police officers to stop anyone suspected of carrying acid without good reason after a massive surge in knife and acid attacks.

People carrying laser pointers and drones would also be targeted as part of a crackdown on evolving types of crime, The Times reports.

The announcement comes as Andy Cooke, Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, described the tactic as being the “single greatest power” that officers have to target crime.

In April, the government published its serious violent crime strategy, which created a new offence of holding a corrosive substance.

The proposed expansion of stop and search powers will be put out to public consultation and changes will need to be passed by MPs in Parliament.

A Home Office spokesman said: “As outlined in the serious violent crime strategy we are looking at ways to strengthen police powers to identify individuals carrying corrosive substances.”

When Theresa May was Home Secretary in 2014, she promised to slash the use of stop and search, claiming the practice undermines relations with minority communities.

By March 2016, the use of stop and search had fallen by 28 percent and Mrs May resisted changes to the police as crime began to rise.

Searches in England and Wales peaked at 1.5 million in 2008-09, falling to just 304,000 in 2016-17. In the past three years, the number of searches has almost halved.

Left-wing campaigners had argued that the tactic unfairly impacted black men as the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement began to take root in the UK, with anti-police activists rioting in areas of London in 2017.

UKIP attacked Theresa May for showing “weakness and inconsistency on stop and search” in their 2017 manifesto, insisting her actions had “cost lives”.

Last summer, Mrs May’s immediate successor as Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, began to backtrack, promising to back police using stop and search tactics as long as they were “targetted”.

However, she said “changes in 2014 to the way the police stop and search members of the public… [were] long overdue”.

Adding: “The government and the police had to recognise concerns that people from black and ethnic minority communities were being targeted disproportionately.”

Chief Constable Cooke told The Times: “This is about criminality not race. There’s an awful lot of advice from people not involved in policing around this issue.

“I would ask that they let police officers get on with the job. There’s the right scrutiny in place and it is the right thing to do.”

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