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Are Stop and Searches the Answer to Rising Violent Crimes?

October 05 2018

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has called for police to have their stop and search powers increased according to recent reports from The Independent and Sky News. Current legislation states officers may only carry out a stop and search on an individual when there is reason to suspect intention to cause injury or other violent crimes.

In England and Wales, the number of reported stop and searches fell from an all-time high of 1.5 million in 2008/09, to approximately 304,000 in 2016/17; which is the lowest number of the last 16 years when the records began.

However, a recent spike in violent crimes has raised alarm bells for the head of the home office, as he looks to specifically target those carrying acid, and drones. Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, Andy Cooke, argues that there is a correlation between the lack of stop and searches, and the rise of violent crimes.

He told The Independent: “Because there are less police officers, and because they know they’re more reluctant to engage in stop-search, criminals feel safe carrying knives and guns around.”

However, there is an argument that increasing the powers of police to conduct stop and searches at a time of heightened tension, could inhibit the already damaged relationship between the authorities, and the communities they target.

A report released in December 2017 found that stop and search statistics gave a disproportionate representation of minority ethnic groups, specifically those of black, and Asian heritage. This was believed to threaten public trust and confidence in the police.

The report, carried out by HM Inspectorate of Constabularyfound alarming statistics that questioned the integrity of the police in carrying out stop and searches legitimately.

The speculation surrounding usage of stop and searches is likely to continue in the coming months. Grahame Stowe Bateson has a widely experienced team of criminal defence lawyers in the Yorkshire region. If you would like more information regarding legal representation, visit our dedicated Criminal Law page. Alternatively, to get in contact with us, you can find the contact details for our offices across Leeds and Harrogate here

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