Following Gideon’s appointment as Editor of the London Evening Standard I thought I would offer him a scoop. Just to show him there are no hard feelings and to help him on his way to be a successful Editor.
So, George, here it is.
Stop and Search in England and Wales is moribund, it is defunct, it is extinct, it is deceased IT IS DEAD. A bit like a well-known parrot really.
How do I know it’s dead?
Well, we all know that the previous Home Secretary decreed that the Police should use it less. That was in 2014 I believe.
“I want to make myself absolutely clear: if the numbers do not come down, if stop and search does not become more targeted, if those stop-to-arrest ratios do not improve considerably, the government will return with primary legislation to make those things happen,” May told the Commons.
“Nobody wins when stop and search is misapplied. It is a waste of police time. It is unfair, especially to young, black men. It is bad for public confidence in the police,” she told MPs.
Well, she’s had her way, numbers have certainly come down. Boy have they come down. Stats published by the Mayor of London imply that more people are currently being arrested as a result of improved Stop/Search application. This is not so, a higher percentage are being arrested this is true, but this is a higher percentage of a much smaller number, resulting in fewer people being arrested in reality. The stats are just being portrayed in a skewed manner, leading the public into thinking that things are better. And crime has NOT gone down.
For an example of what I mean, look at the Mayor’s graph of Stop/Search vs Arrest Rate, it certainly looks as though things have improved:-
At the beginning of his graph 8.3% of 533,427 people stopped were getting arrested. This means that 44,274 people stopped were getting arrested. Fast Forward to 19% of 160,694 people arrested as a result of “better”, “more intelligence led” application of Stop and Search. It seems like we’re doing SOOOOOOO much better. In reality those figures show that the Met arrested only 30,532 people, almost 33% FEWER.
Is that really an improvement set against the explosion of knife crime and gun crime in the capital?
Stop and Search (correctly and lawfully conducted) is a major tool in the fight against Weapons, Drugs and Property Crime. Yet, the former Home Secretary says “cut it out chaps, it’s alienating people”. What is she doing now? Oh yes……..
Finally, don’t just take my word for it, below are the real figures over a 5 year period for England and Wales, plus a couple of the more dramatic examples of individual Forces. All “official” stats.
I dare you to publish an article based upon this reality George, you can have first dibs, but don’t sulk if somebody else runs with it.
Stop and Search is Dead, RIP Stop and Search . Theresa May should hang her head in shame, she is personally responsible for this latest trend. Amber Rudd has done nothing, I think literally nothing. I can’t remember her most significant contribution, and NPCC have done little or nothing to challenge Mrs May or her successor on it.
Irrespective of whatever Mrs May says;
A Police Officer can search you if he or she has reasonable grounds to suspect that they’re likely to find;
• Stolen property;
• Items which could be used to commit burglary, theft or deception;
• Certain types of firework;
• Evidence of game and wildlife offences;
• Alcohol at or on route to a designated sporting event;
• Items made, adapted or intended to damage or destroy property;
• Articles connected with terrorism.
Crucially the officer has to have “reasonable grounds”. If those grounds are present then no politician, not even the Prime Minister or Home Secretary, should deter an officer from excercising a lawful power “without fear or favour”, but it is essential that the “reasonable grounds” are present.
Finally, if any of you would like to know what your local Force is doing with Stop and Search just ask and I will attach them to this post in response as and when I am able.
There you are George, I’m sure you can put together a half-decent article based on this.