Met Police Chief: Return of Stop and Search Helped Cut London Crime

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 12: (EDITORS NOTE: Part of this image has been pixellated to obscure identity) A suspect is 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, …
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The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, has said that the return of ‘stop and search’ has helped cut crime dramatically in London.

Speaking of the statistics, Ms Dick said that the murder rate had fallen by a quarter over the past year with a 15 per cent reduction in the number of under 25s being stabbed, in comments reported by The Times.

The Commissioner said that “having officers in an area where there is intelligence is a very important tactic and has absolutely led to a fall in violence. My key metric has always been injury to under-25s, especially on the street, and we have 15 per cent less, 311 less (sic) young people stabbed”.

She went on to describe the tactic of stop and search — which is used by police if they have ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect a person is carrying drugs, stolen property, or a weapon — as being “very effective” and said it was “suppressing the violence”, the tactic not only taking drugs and knives off the streets but acting as a deterrent to carrying weapons, as well.

Despite this, then Home Secretary Theresa May had discouraged use of the practice on the grounds that it disproportionately impacted young black men and that this was undermining confidence in the police, announcing reform to the powers in 2014 that resulted in the number of searches falling from 1.2 million in 2011 to 280,000 by 2018.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has also came out against the use of stop and search, saying during his mayoral campaign in 2015 that he would do “everything in my power” to cut the practice, saying it had a “dramatic effect” on some “communities”.

However, statistics published in February revealed that ethnic minorities were disproportionately effected by knife crime in London, with 73 per cent of offenders and 53 per cent of victims being found to be from a black or minority ethnic background. While a former London police officer defended the tactic in 2016, saying that stop and search saves young, black lives by “stopping black youths killing other black youths”.

Mr Khan was forced to perform a u-turn on his position in 2018, however, in response to rising crime in the capital.

The left-wing mayor of London has blamed police cuts for the rises in crime in the capital, but has spent £7 million on policing the recent Extinction Rebellion climate change protests — a figure The Times claims is nearly half that Mr Khan gave in additional funds to London’s Metropolitan Police to tackle knife crime.

Meanwhile, Mr Khan has also found money to spend on increasing online hate crime policing as well as allocating £34 million for environmental projects.

Ms Dick also said that Section 60 orders — which allow whole areas to be designated as stop and search zones in circumstances where a serious act of violence has taken place or is believed to take place — were working in response to major violence crime incidences, such as when a Section 60 was put in place for several hours on Thursday after a double stabbing in Hackney.

Recent figures show that violent crime has increased in England and Wales by 19 per cent, with 40,829 reported incidents involving a knife or bladed weapon, an average of 112 every single day.

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