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UK NewsStop and search: Should government extend police powers?

19:05  13 august  2019
19:05  13 august  2019 Source:   walesonline.co.uk

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A police officer has powers to stop and search you if they have ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect you’re carrying: illegal drugs. a weapon. stolen property. something which could be used to commit a crime, such as a crowbar. You can only be stopped and searched without reasonable grounds if it

Under the government ’s plans, an existing pilot project, which allows police to deploy stop - and - search powers in an area And, of course, it is right that stop - and - search should be done courteously and in accordance with the law. But I also know that the people who back this intervention

Stop and search: Should government extend police powers? © PA File photo dated 15/09/16 of police officers

The government wants to extend stop and search powers for the police to crack down on the knife crime epidemic.

Home secretary Priti Patel argues that stop and search is "a vital tool" for officers to keep people safe.

However, others say that the policy is "counterproductive" and could damage relations between the police and communities.

The Claim

The government has lifted emergency stop and search restrictions, as part of their efforts to "crack down on violent crime".

They are making it simpler for all 43 police forces in England and Wales to stop and search someone without needing reasonable grounds for suspicion.

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Under the government ’s plans, an existing pilot project, which allows police to deploy stop - and - search powers in an area without the authorisation of a senior officer, will be “We are making clear that the police can and should make use of their stop - and - search powers ,” he wrote.

Proposals to extend police ' stop and search ' powers to address the criminal misuse of unmanned aircraft (drones), laser pointers and corrosive substances. The current legislation does not provide a specific power to stop and search in the case of corrosive substances possessed in a public place

Home secretary Priti Patel argues that stop and search works. She said: "We are experiencing a knife crime epidemic and I am determined to put a stop to it.

"Police chiefs are clear - stop and search is a vital tool in combatting the scourge of serious violence and keeping people safe.

"Today I am giving them my full support and more police authority to approve stop and search to halt this terrible crime in its tracks."

The Counterclaim

However, an editorial in the Guardian argues that stop and search is not a solution - and the government should "address the root causes instead".

They say that Johnson's approach speaks to concerns, rather than answer them. The prime minister is reverting to "a familiar and failed Conservative playbook of “hard on crime, hard on criminals” rhetoric".

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Stop - and - search powers have been controversial for many years, with evidence He acknowledged concerns about stop - and - search and said police officers would be as professional as possible, with many wearing body cameras. Knife crime: Should stronger stop and search powers be used?

The consultation proposes extending powers so that police can stop and search individuals carrying corrosive substances in public without good reason. Officers should be confident to use stop and search – proportionately and respectfully – because it’s an important investigative tool.

The Guardian writes: "Like his pledge to create 10,000 more prison places, or his earlier promise to recruit 20,000 more police officers, his announcement reeks of electioneering."

Stop and search can be damaging to police relations with communities, and the editorial argues that the policy is "counterproductive".

They conclude: "Extending stop and search powers, while paying only lip service to tackling the causes of crime, is “a tried-and-tested recipe for unrest, not violence reduction”, as the shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, warned – and as Mr Johnson’s own experience should tell him."

The Facts

A police officer has the power to stop and search you if they have "reasonable grounds" to suspect you are carrying a weapon, illegal drugs, stolen property, or something which you could use to commit a crime (such as a crowbar).

They need approval from a senior police officer to stop and search you without reasonable grounds; and then, it could only happen if they believe a serious crime could take place, you are carrying a weapon or have used one, or you are in a specific location or area.

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The police minister, Kit Malthouse, has insisted that a new wave of stop - and - search operations should not increase community tensions, as the government unveiled a In the Sun on Sunday, Patel said she would ensure police had “the resources and the powers they need” to protect people.

Under the government ’s plans, an existing pilot project, which allows police to deploy stop - and - search powers in an area without the authorisation of a senior officer, will be “We are making clear that the police can and should make use of their stop - and - search powers ,” he wrote.

There were 277,378 stop and searches in England and Wales in 2017/18 - at a rate of five per 1,000 people. This is down from 23 per 1,000 people in 2009/10.

Black people were nine and a half times as likely to be stopped and searched as white people in 2017/18. There were three stop and searches for every 1,000 white people, compared to 29 stop and searches for every 1,000 black people.

Analysis from the Guardian found that in London, where 15.6 per cent of the population is black and 59.8 per cent is white, 43 per cent of searches were of black people, while 35.5 per cent were of white people.

According to Full Fact, stop and searches are more likely than ever to result in an arrest. Around 17 per cent of searches resulted in arrests, and 13 per cent resulted in another kind of action in 2017/18.

In 2010, nine per cent of police stop and searches resulted in an arrest.

Government figures also show that stop and searches resulted in almost 7,000 arrests for offensive weapons and 900 arrests for firearms.

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