Stop And Search, The Work Of The Devil, Right?

I wasn’t intending to write anything at all this morning, but this headline from the Grauniad changed my mind.

Met police criticised for multiple errors in stop and search practice

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

The IOPC made 11 recommendations for the Met, Britain’s biggest force, for reform of its policies. “There is clearly much room for improvement,” it said.

What exactly is this profound statement based on? The answer to that is apparently a mere 5 complaints examined by our friends at the Independent Office for Police Conduct. FIVE, yes 5.

I have absolutely no idea how many complaints the Met receives in a year relating to Stop and Search, never mind how how many get substantiated, but I do know how many Stop/Searches officers from the Met carry out in a year.

To put some context on this alarming revelation from IOPC, let’s look at some other numbers. At this current time there are just under 32,000 (FTE) officers in the Met. These 32,000 officers, between them, carried out a grand total of 303,583 Stop/Searches under all relevant powers in the past 12 months.

32,000 officers have carried out 303,000 Stop/Searches and the IOPC issue their “There is clearly much room for improvement,” statment based on that.

I have no desire to defend unethical or unlawful practices, but really? The IOPC are clearly of the mindset that there are systemic failings at work here. I would say that there are possibly training issues highlighted for a very small number of officers.

To the IOPC I say this. You really do need to up your game. You are making yourselves look petty-minded, vindictive and government puppets. The lurid headlines do nothing but unfairly undermine the confidence of the public in their Police Service, so I will re-write the Guardian’s headline for them, and perhaps you can examine your own policies and when your organisation is 100% without fault and blame you can ask me to examine the situaton again.

Nothing Wrong With 303,578 Stop/Searches in The Met


I have just read the IOPC Press Release. Having done so, I’m not at all surprised by their findings

The IOPC recently completed five investigations involving the stop and search of Black men by MPS officers and reviewed the collective evidence gathered to consider disproportionality, legitimacy and how force was used.

If you pick 5 complaints about Stop/Search on black males and your object is to find ‘Disproportionately’ it should come as no surprise if you find it.

So, having studied these FIVE complaints they came up with ELEVEN recommendations

  • taking steps to ensure that their officers better understand how their use of stop and search powers impacts individuals from groups that are disproportionately affected by those powers
  • ensuring there is a structure in place so leaders and supervisors are proactively monitoring and supervising the use of stop and search powers and addressing any concerning trends or patterns/ sharing any identified good practice at; individual, unit or organisational level
  • taking steps to ensure that assumptions, stereotypes and bias (conscious or unconscious) are not informing or affecting officer’s decision making when carrying out stop and searches, especially when using these powers on people from Black communities
  • ensuring officers are not relying on the smell of cannabis alone when deciding to stop and search someone and use grounds based upon multiple objective factors
  • ensuring officers carrying out stop and searches always use the principles of GOWISELY and engage in respectful, meaningful conversations with the persons being stopped
  • ensuring stop and search training incorporates a section on de-escalation, including the roles of supervisors and colleagues in controlling the situation and providing effective challenge
  • ensuring officers exercising stop and search powers are ending the encounters once their suspicion has been allayed, in a manner that minimises impact and dissatisfaction, unless there are further genuine and reasonable grounds for continued suspicion
  • ensuring officers exercising stop and search powers are not using restraint/handcuffs as a matter of routine and are only using these tools when reasonable, proportionate and necessary
  • amending stop and search records to include a question about whether any kind of force has been used. The records should also state where information about the kind of force will be recorded
  • ensuring officers are following APP and MPS policy and switching on their body-worn video camera early enough to capture the entirety of a stop and search interaction
  • supervisors taking a proactive role in monitoring and ensuring compliance with body-worn video APP and MPS policy.

Trial By Social Media Or RIP Without Fear Or Favour? You Decide

It can’t have escaped your notice that, over the past few months or longer, a practice has really taken off of filming the Police going about their lawful duties, and then circulating a heavily edited version of the footage on Social Media accompanied by some seriously biased comments.

In the past few months alone we have seen footage which purports to show people who have been stopped ‘for no apparent reason’ and therefore there must have been an element of Racial Profiling going on. What twaddle, in both instances the vehicles had tinted windows making it difficult to establish who was in the car. One car was seemingly being driven by a white male, despite the passenger claiming he was black. This video was seemingly altered in a highly unsatisfactory manner, ‘flipping ‘ the video making it look as though the black female was the driver, and, presumably the subject of the stop, when in fact it was the white male who was driving. I have no idea how this happened, who was responsible, or whether it was a genuine but unfortunate mistake, but it puts the whole, edited, incident in a completely different light.

I have no particular issue with Police Officers being filmed, apart from the fact that it invades their privacy, something that the ‘filmers’ are frequently very hot about. Sharing that footage on Social Media could also constitute a security risk for the officers. Can you imagine the outrage if officers went round filming members of the public and then posting that video on Social Media for a laugh, with a sarcastic comment attached?

Officers are expected to carry out their duties to certain standards, and I for one expect that of them. That is not my reason for opposing them being filmed in the streets. If you want to film them behaving in a way you find less than acceptable, do so by all means, but then hand the full, unedited, version of the video over to Professional Standards or IOPC to deal with. They will be able to tell if it has been edited or not.

My point in all this is this. If this practice continues, edited footage being gleefully broadcast by National News Media and widely shared on Social Media, then I predict grave consequences. There are those amongst us who seek to curtail the lawful activities of our Police Service. Only yesterday I heard of a certain Labour MP in consultation with Dame Dick about the manner in which Stop and Search is used.

Stop and Search is regulated by Statute nationally and is not up for modification by an MP who doesn’t like it. s1 PACE clearly requires sufficient ‘grounds’ and individual officers need to be able to demonstrate and justify grounds. s60 PACE is valid only within clearly defined times and geographic areas, and for a specific reason, authorised by a senior Police Officer for a Policing purpose. Other Acts, such as the Road Traffic Act, allow persons to be stopped without searching them, for defined reasons e.g. to ensure that a car driver has a valid Driving Licence etc.

A large section of the public supported the call for Police Officers to be kitted out with Body Worn Video. This is now quite commonplace. Most, if not all, are equipped with audio. Again, I have no issue with this. It is on a par with Tape Recorded Interviews or CCTV in Custody Areas etc. It is a fact of modern life and if the officers do nothing wrong then that facility will actually support them, or be evidence against them if they transgress.

However, now that we have BWV, when instances arise like recently when seemingly edited video footage is broadcast on the National News to suit one person’s agenda, if BWV footage exists that can either corroborate or rebut that agenda then it should also be released and given equivalent prominence on the National News, but all know that’s never going to happen.

If this continues the way the vociferous minority want it to then our Police, nationally, will be totally emasculated.  Reluctant, in many cases, to do their duty for fear of being posted all over the internet on pursuit of ‘Likes’ or other malicious agenda.

Policing Without Fear or Favour means this.  It means yes, you will breathalyse John from the Cricket Club even though you are also a member there and know him well, because that is the right thing to do.  It does not mean “I’m not going to Stop/Search that person there because they are a Public Figure and I don’t want to be a meme, or ‘go viral'”‘  It means ‘Doing the right thing, in the right manner’ no matter who the subject is.

We have seen SOME senior officers come out and defend their officers, when it has been appropriate to do so.  We have seen SOME senior officers publicly criticise their officers, or apologise,  prior to the conclusion of any enquiry.  On one memorable ocasion the officers’ actions had been scrutised twice and held to have been lawful and appropriate and there had been no Misconduct, yet Dame Dick still felt it appropriate to apologise.  She apparently apopologised for the ‘distress’ caused.  Well, if the officers actions had been lawful and appropriate and there was no Misconduct, and there were no allegations of incivility etc, there should have been no distress to apologise for.  I’m sure many of us have been at the wrong end of an interaction with a Police Officer even though we have done no wrong, I certainly have.  I definitely did not receive or expect an apology for it though.

I have heard anecdotal evidence, on Social Media ironically, that a number of officers are actually considering leaving the profession due solely to Trial by Social Media and a perceived lack of support from above.  There you have it, the death knell of Policing Without Fear or Favour.

I’m not sure how much good it will do with the current government but many of us have written to our MP pointing out what is happening.  If the public don’t like what is happening then they have the right to reply (politely) via Social Media or direct to the person concerned.  Either way the the future is very much in the Court of Public Opinion.  The odd video may seem amusing in the short term, but the long damage they do, undermining our over-stretched officers is immense.  Yes, they will inevitablymake mistakes, but if it is a genuine mistake, addressed as such, and hopefully rectified, that should really be the end of the matter, not 40 seconds of infamy on YouTube.

Available Population And Racial Profiling

What on earth is he talking about?  I hear you ask.  WTF is Available Population and what does it have to do with me?  Pour yourself a glass of your favourite tipple, sit back, give me 5 minutes of your time and I will hope to explain it to you.

A couple of high profile incidents recently have vexed me beyond measure, not because they happened but because of the totally negative spin put on them, which is not helped (in my opinion) by certain academics who just love to tread the party line and possibly ignore realities.

Available Population

Dry, numerical analysis of practices such as Stop and Search will always throw up an imbalance.  For example, Many academics will try and convince you that being Black means that your are 6,7 or 8 times more likely to be Stopped and Searched than if you were White.  These claims are predominantly based on the Ethnic Makeup of England and Wales, or sometimes individual cosmopolitan cities like London.  Is that fair?  It could be argued that it is, but as a former Practitioner, rather than Academic, I prefer to say that it is neither fair nor truly representative.

One eminent piece of writing that I urge you to read is The stop and search race myth by Alasdair Palmer which eloquently tells the back story to Theresa May’s infamous condemnation of Stop and Search.  It is a shocking story if true (and I have no reason to doubt it) and shines a light on politicians, their sychophants and the shenanigans of Government.

Alasdair references Available Population in his piece both he and I would make the argument that it is a far more relevant comparison to a local problem than the population of England and Wales.

For example, if you are a Police Officer tasked with tackling, and reducing, a string of Street Robberies committed in the High Street between 3pm and 5pm by 2 or 3 ginger people, 15-17 years old and wearing kilts, why on earth would you Stop and Search a 75 year old Grandma wearing a Packamac (showing my age now)?

The majority of the population of England and Wales is NOT 15-17 ginger kids wearing kilts, so they would appear at face value to be discriminated against.

However, if you look at the High Street between 3pm and 5pm and take a note of the people hanging around, you might just find that 60-70% of them are ginger teenagers wearing kilts and not many 75 year old Grandmas in Packamacs.

THAT is the Available Population, those people who were Available to be stopped in that location at that time.

Is that not a more reasonable comparator?

The police, the Home Office research showed, did not target particular areas for stop and search because they wanted to stop and search people of a particular ethnic group. They chose those areas because that’s where the highest amount of street crime was reported – and stop and search’s primary purpose is to diminish street crimes such as mugging and robbery.

Home Office research that the then Home Secretary (Theresa May) seemingly chose to ignore in favour of her “Stop/Search is bad” speech and accompanying threat to legislate and ‘reform’ it.

Finally, on this topic, another article entitled Disproportionate and Discriminatory: Reviewing the Evidence on Police Stop and Search by Ben Bowling and Coretta Phillips helpfully includes this opinion:-

The advantage of this measure is that it recognises that some demographic groups distinguished on the basis of age, ethnic origin, gender, etc are more likely than others to spend their time at home, at work or are otherwise in private spacewhere they are ‘unavailable’ to be stopped by the police, while others, conversely,are more likely to be ‘available’ by virtue of their demographic characteristics andlifestyle. The Home O⁄ffice research study exploring this comparator concluded that resident populations give a poor indication of the populations available to be searched. Within ‘available populations’, white people tend to be stopped and searched at a higher rate, Asian people tend to be under-represented and black people are sometimes under- and sometimes over-represented.

I’ll leave it here, but I’m convinced that Available Population is a much fairer comparison when it comes to analysising statistics such as Stop and Search etc.

Racial Profiling

Racial Profiling is another habit the Police are frequently, and unfairly, accused of doing.  I refer to my previous comments above, if you were tasked with tackling a string of Street Robberies in the High Street by ginger teenagers wearing kilts, you could rightly be criticised for stopping any 75 year old Packamac wearing Grannies.  They don’t fit the profile of the robbery suspects at all.

However, it becomes far more complex with the occupants of motor vehicles.  My car is most certainly not a ‘Prestige’ brand.  However, as standard from new, it came fitted with ‘Privacy Glass’ in all of the back windows.  This would mean that if I was following my car (from behind obv) I would be completely unable to tell whether the occupants were kilt wearing ginger lads until the vehicle was stopped and the occupants asked to get out.  It would be totally unfair to accuse me of targeting gingers under those circumastances.

In short, it would be impossible to racially profile the occupants of my car, or 100s of thousands of others similarly equipped, fom the rear, be it daylight or night time.  From the front or side you have a good chance but definitely not from the rear if you were following me.

Maybe some folk should consider that before they make outspoken comments about officers trying to do their job.

Without Fear Or Favour

Just a short post today, and then I’m off to take my meds and lie in a darkened room.

Two athletes that I have never heard of got stopped by some TSG officers apparently due to the manner of driving of the car that they were in.  For whatever reason (I wasn’t there) it didn’t go at all well and the two athletes ended up being quite stressed by the whole experience.

As is normal (or maybe compulsory) in these circumatnces, heavily edited footage was circulated on Social Media, but quite why they were filming events before they had even been stopped is a mystery to me.

Eventually they were allowed on their way, and they, together with another former athlete who wsn’t there either, excercised their right to complain across Social Media.

The actions of the officers, the evidence from their Body Worn Video and the footage from Social Media were reviewed by officers from the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards – TWICE.

Twice they formed the opinion that there had been no Misconduct by the officers.  TWICE.

Now we have the situation where Dame Dick has referred the Force (i.e. the officers involved) to the Independent Office for Polce Conduct for an investigation, even though it has twice been decided that the officers did nothing wrong.

IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem said the IOPC would look at whether the use of stop and search was appropriate and proportionate in line with approved police policies, adding: “We will also investigate if racial profiling or discrimination played a part in the incident.”

Dame Dick, either personally or via another Senior Officer, then offered a grovelling apology to the athletes for the distress and hurt feelings they had endured at the hands of those poor TSG Officers.

Policing WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOUR is now effectively dead, certainly in London.  No matter how professionally, patiently and courteously the officers on the streets conduct their duties, hanging over their head is the prospect of a Senior Officer somewhere saying “Our officers did nothing wrong, but we’re frightfully sorry and we will have them investigated.”

How does Policing the streets continue like that?


Stops, Knife Crime & BLM. What Is Going On In London?

Last night my attention was drawn to this tweet from Norman Brennan.

Are things really that dire in Londinium, and if they are, why?

I must warn you, this is going to get very numbery, and I need to try out my new crayons.  Let’s start by having a look at Stop/Search in London over the last 2 years.

So there we see the beginnings of a potential problem, or is it?  There has indeed been a fall in the total number of Stop/Searches, in the order of 13,652 fewer (or 31%).  BUT, the May figure was in itself a spike and the numbers in June have more or less returned to normal.  I have no idea what, specifically, was going on in London during May, but something has caused a spike.  Possibly increased ‘Proactivity’ during a period of Lockdown?  I don’t know, maybe one of the serving officers can tell me.

There has been a lot of fuss in the media over the past few days about athletes getting stopped and the Met were accused of Racism and Racial Profiling.  How do the Stop/Searches over the past 2 years break down?

Well to be fair there have been a few months when the proportion of Black people stopped and searched has gone up, for whatever reason, but for most of the two year period, when one ethnicity gets stopped nore frequently, so do the others. In the very last set of data, June 2020, there were actually1,428 fewer Black people stopped than Whites.  Once again, I cannot provide a reason for that, but that is what the stats show.  Racially prejudiced or Profiled?  I can’t see any evidence to support that accusation.

How do the figures stack up when it comes to Positive Outcomes? i.e. the number of occasions something was found as a result of the Stop and Search?  Any racial bias there?

Interpret that any way you want but when one Ethnic Group rises they all rise, when one falls they all reduce.  In recent months the total number of Positive Outcomes for Black people stopped has been lower than for White people. 

What does the long term pattern over two years show us?

Before I leave Stop/Search and move onto Crimes, for the sake of completeness and transparency, we may as well include age and gender (there are only 2 genders because that all is the Met provide stats for).

Males are far more likely to get Stopped and Searched than Females, and the 15-25 year olds are streets ahead of any other age group.  Not surprising I suppose, there isn’t much chance of having sufficient grounds to Stop and Search many 75 year old Grandmas.

Almost at the end now.  How have the Knife Crime stats looked over the last two years?

The red/orange line representing the 2 year average, it is plain that Knife crime in London has slowed dramatically in 2020, way below average.  However this could be the results of CoronaVirus Lockdowns, increased numbers of Police on the streets or anything else.

Knife Crime with Injury.  A separate set of stats, how does that shape up in London?

Once again, below the red/orange Average line at the moment. 

In conclusion, looking at the bald statistics and with no current, personal knowledge of what is going on, it would appear that there HAS been a large drop in Stop Search during June, but only dropping back to the current baseline figure.  Why the spike in May is currently a mystery.  Has this alleged lack of Police activity caused a massive rise in Knife enabled crimes and Injuries caused by Knives?  I don’t think that the statistics bear that out at all.  There was an increase in both types of Knife Crime in May 2020, but still significantly below the two year average.

Sorry Norman, on the basis of the Met’s published statistics I cannot agree with your Senior Officer.

Whether ANY of this has anything to do with Black Lives Matter I can’t possibly say, but at least we have the cold, dry stats to form an opinion on.

Stop And Search – A Peace Offering (Of Sorts)

There has been much animated discussion on Twatter over the weekend on the thorny subject of Stop and Search. There have been suggestions (often ignored), anger, sarcasm and even personal abuse from both sides of the argument.

I have given the subject much thought over the past 48 hours and I’m not sure the two sides of the argument will ever agree on anything.  My personal opinion is that is because they are approaching the same problem from two different directions, from different disciplines and with totally different objectives and agendas.

My thoughts, for what they’re worth, are these;

The law, in the form of s1 Police and Criminal Evidence Act allows the Police in England and Wales to stop and search an individual under certain conditions. (s60 is totally different and I will not be discussing it here)

A constable may exercise any power conferred by this section—
(a) in any place to which at the time when he proposes to exercise the power the public or any section of the public has access, on payment or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission; or
(b) in any other place to which people have ready access at the time when he proposes to exercise the power but which is not a dwelling.

Subject to subsection (3) to (5) below, a constable—
(a) may search—
(i) any person or vehicle;
(ii) anything which is in or on a vehicle,
for stolen or prohibited articles [F1, any article to which subsection (8A) below applies or any firework to which subsection (8B) below applies] ; and
(b) may detain a person or vehicle for the purpose of such a search.

Next comes what I think is the most important part of the current debate;

This section does not give a constable power to search a person or vehicle or anything in or on a vehicle unless he has reasonable grounds for suspecting that he will find stolen or prohibited articles

Unless he/she has REASONABLE GROUNDS THAT HE/SHE WILL FIND STOLEN OR PROHIBITED ARTICLES. That is the knub of the matter. Wether to Stop/Search or not to Stop/Search is an operatinal matter for the officer involved to consider and take the appropriate action at the time of the ‘incident’. Officers are accountable in this and have to record the reasons for the Stop/Search and provide (on request) a copy of the written Stop/Search record to the person who has been Stop/Searched.

What is so unclear about all of that, that it needs endless debate as to wether or not more Stop/Search would be effective? Why is it so contentious to people who have nothing to fear?

In an ideal world Stop/Search is like water, it will find its own level, a level appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and available intelligence.

Now it’s my turn to be contentious. I’m sure my reader will inform me if I’m too far off the mark.

Stop/Search (s1) is a POWER given to us by the lawmakers of England and Wales (Parliament). I see absolutely no reason not to use it as many times as is appropriate. What is vitally important is that it is used CORRECTLY. The GROUNDS need to exist. There is absolutely no reason why, in the vast majority of cases, it can’t be carried out with courtesy, understanding and professionalism. In those rare cases where the subject being Stop/Searched chooses to resist then he/she can be removed to the Police Station where the procedure can be carried out out of the glare of the public eye and under the care and supervision of the Custody Officer. What on earth is wrong with that? Why should that be demonstrably contentious?

What is vitally important for this to work is an adequate level of Training. No officer should be unleashed onto the streets and still be unsure of what their powers are under PACE and how to use them properly. At the bare minimum they should be accompanied and supervised by somebody who does know what to do.

Not Rocket Science is it?

The problem is that Stop/Search is a ‘dirty’, hands-on procedure that doesn’t translate well into the classroom or the analyst’s workbook. It is not an exact science. We can all crunch numbers and come up with a variety of hypotheses. Unfortunately those hypotheses aren’t worth the fag packets they’re written on if they’re not tested.

I’ve heard much said about Stop/Search ‘targets’, particularly one of a 20% Arrest Rate in the Met. I retain my view that such numerical targets are unlawful because they take no account of ‘Grounds’ and encourage officers to conduct Stop/Search procedures without those vitally important grounds merely to attain a Target and keep the bosses happy. Am I wrong? I suspect that the 20% rate in London is actually a figure they would ‘hope’ to achieve and not an actual target.

So, how can we appease the opposition? My suggestion is totally binary;

  1. Continue with Stop/Search in its current form with no changes to legislation or practice/methodology BUT it is vitally important that ALL officers (including Senior Officers and IOPC) are trained to the highest levels in what is required to constitute a lawful Stop/Search, and how to professionally conduct one.
  2. OR Government can repeal s1 PACE. Stop/Search will cease overnight because nobody likes it anyway and it isn’t effective and we can all sit back and see what happens to the streets of our towns and cities. maybe words like ‘causation’ and ‘correlation’ will have a clearer meaning then.

Are Theresa May’s Policies The Real Reason Behind Our Children Being Killed By Knives?

Yes……….in a word.

Why do I say that so positively?

This won’t take long, but here is why I think that.

After their election victory in 2010 David Camoron appointed Theresa May as Home Secretary and she in turn engaged Tom Winsor to write an ‘Independent’ review on Policing, which came remarkably close to mirroring one of David Camoron’s speech from 2006.

Tom, as we know, later went on to become Head Fred at Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, despite never having served in the Police Service at any rank. I wonder what Her Majesty made of that. Even later he became Sir Tom, for reasons that elude me.

Whilst the Police Service was still reeling from the recommendations of Winsor’s ‘Independent’ Reviews they were hit by two sledgehammers from Theresa May.

1. Police budgets will be cut due to #Austerity (yeah, right) which, to date, has resulted in the loss of approx 21,000 warranted Police Officers with a lower number of PCSOs and Police Support Staff, and the closing of approx 650 Police Stations.

2. In her 2014 speech to the Police Federation Theresa May issued an edict that Stop and Search must be curtailed, or there would be ‘consequences’, because certain members of the population were unhappy about it.

Please note the two charts below. I will deliberately NOT claim that there is any correlation between the datasets, I merely present the facts. After the lashing I got from Dr Ben this week I must bow to his undeniable superior intelligence so I will leave it to him and the other Academics to explain them.

Fig 1

Figure 1 shows the total number of Stop/Searches conducted in England and Wales against the total number of Knife-Related Murders.

Fig 2

Figure 2 shows the total number of Police Officers in England and Wales against the total number of Knife-Related Murders.

Three FACTS are apparent from these two diagrams. Two of the FACTS are directly related to Theresa May’s policies.

  1. Stop and Search has REDUCED
  1. Police numbers have REDUCED
  1. Knife-Related Murders have INCREASED.

With facts like these staring them in the face, the College of Policing, UK Home Office and anybody else who can actually achieve anything should get off their arses, stop having nice chatty meetings and actually commission some proper research to

a) Establish if there is any correlation between all three of the FACTS

b) Identify, and put into action, a proactive, multi-agency plan to put an end to the carnage on our streets. We have had too many young people slaughtered already, we don’t need any more. I will say it again, I don’t give a stuff what colour or ethnicity these young people are, the killing simply has to stop.

In conclusion, do I think that the Tory and Coalition governments have blood on their hands? Yes I do, and Theresa May was the worst offender. I really don’t know how her, and all the politicians and Police Chiefs who sat by and said nothing can sleep at night.

In my opinion Theresa May’s policies have been directly responsible for many young lives being lost on our streets.

More Smoke And Mirrors

Knife Crime.

Who is to blame?

Certainly anyone carrying or wielding a knife without a reasonable excuse or lawful authority is to blame.

Government silliness might make you think that Teachers or the NHS are to blame for failing to report crimes or suspicions to the Police. What a load of cobblers. You can agree or disagree with me, that is our right, but in my opinion it is quite clear.

There are TWO groups of people directly responsible for the stabbings and knife crime in general.

The first are the children, young people and adults that are carrying knives about our streets. Whether they be for offence or self-defence it is unlawful and must STOP. We do, however, have to agree a method of making it stop, the politicians just seem to want a series of meetings about it.

It is quite obvious from newsreel footage that many of the knives being carried for self-defence are quite capable of inflicting a lethal injury.

The other group of people directly responsible is Theresa May and all of the members of Parliament who voted in support of her ‘Reforms’. I hold Theresa May personally responsible, because she made it personal with her vitriolic attacks on Police.

The first thing she did was to appoint Tom Winsor to carry out ‘independent’ reviews of the Police Service. This resulted in a report with recommendations that so closely resembled a previous speech by David Camoron that the Reviews could not possibly have been truly independent in my opinion.

She then set about a series of cuts in the name of #Austerity that saw the Police Service reduced from 143,734 officers in March 2010 to 122,395 in September 2018. Not forgetting of course equally savage cuts to Police Staff and PCSOs. Even the unpaid Special Constabulary has shrunk.

Copyright Home Office

Cuts of this magnitude cannot possibly be carried out without consequences. In my opinion the consequences in relation to total crime are quite clear.

To my way of thinking it is quite obvious that once the cuts began to bite total crime levels rose. It was slowly reducing until about 2012/13 when it began to go back up again.

The second unforgivable act by Theresa May personally was her insistence that Stop and Search is in some way wicked and must be reduced. In a speech to the Federation in 2014 she said

And I am determined that the use of stop and search must come down, become more targeted and lead to more arrests.

Well it did come down. What happened to Knife Crime?

Copyright Alan Wright Copyright Alan Wright

As Stop and Search came down then both Knife-related homicides and Knife Crime in general went up. 2014 she made her speech to the Federation demanding a reduction in Stop and Search. 2014 the number of Stop/Searches began reducing drastically. 2014 Knife Crime started to go back up again.

I know Gavin doesn’t necessarily agree with me (I haven’t changed my mind Gavin) but looking at the two charts above I am compelled to believe that there is a link between the two ‘curves’. I have yet to see a set of data that suggests putting more officers on the streets or increasing Stop and Search causes the crime rate to increase.

It is an absolute requirement of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act that officers have ‘grounds’ for conducting a search under s1 of the Act. s60 Stops are very different and can currently be authorised by an officer of Superintendent rank or above. No innocent person should fear being stopped by Police. It should be carried out courteously, with dignity and the officer should have a valid reason for carrying it out. You are always entitled to receive a written copy of the official record of that Stop/Search. In my experience people who object to being stopped and searched either have something to hide or are being whipped up by one or more of the professional agitators who pop their heads up every so often.

I have heard it stated by people who really should know better that the Met has a 20% ‘hit rate’ for Stops and Searches, i.e. a Target to be achieved. To my mind this is what they ‘hope’ to achieve, to make it a hard ‘Target’ would be both unethical and unlawful, but people still claim that is the case, but I don’t actually believe it.

One ‘Target’ we should be aiming for is 100%. We should aspire to remove 100% of those illegal weapons off of our streets. Every life that has been lost (vis a vis knife crime) and every injury inflicted has been caused by a knife unlawfully carried through the streets. More Police Officers on our streets making more use of Stop and Search has the ability to detect those knives, arrest the person(s) in possession of them, possibly act as a deterrent,  and simply save lives. Compared to a life lost is it really a huge inconvenience to be erroneously Stopped and Searched? Provided that the grounds exist (or a s60 Order) of course.

The same applies to firearms although I do accept that there are other factors at play there.

To implicate the teaching profession or the NHS as somehow being at fault is totally unbelievable and inappropriate. Add into the mix cuts in Youth Services, Local Authority budgets, Teaching and Probation and it must be very close to a ‘Perfect Storm’.

There is one primary person at fault here, the person who said this:-

Any attempt to divert the blame to anybody else is just more Smoke and Mirrors, but we’ve come to expect that from her.

Your Country Needs You (Like Never Before)

There surely cannot be a person over the age of 14 or so who is still unaware of the seemingly uncontrollable epidemic of stabbings and Knife Crime sweeping the country. Not one person surely? In London alone there is a knife-related murder or serious stabbing almost every day. Only recently a young teenage kid was literally disembowelled on the streets of our capital.

Politicians of all hues and senior Police Officers pronounce that this is completely unacceptable (it is) but what are they actually DOING about it?

Mainly nothing.  A lot of hot air gets spouted, think tanks go into overdrive trying to come up with the next big ‘thing’, senior Police Officers will have meetings and pronounce that ‘extra’ officers are being thrown at the problem, the government will assure us that new ‘technology’ is on the way.  The main problem is that there are NO extra extra officers, there are, in fact,  21,000 fewer officers.

Meetings are a very small part of the solution, but to come up with the promise of ‘extra’ officers is an insult to both Police and Public alike.  Every one of these ‘extra’ officers is either working what should have been a Leave Day or they have been abstracted from other duties, thereby creating a shortage somewehere else.

Almost every serving or former Police Officer that I know, together with a significant number of Members of the Public have a damn good idea what is causing the problem and how to begin addressing it.

Every knife used in an attack on the streets has been carried through the streets by somebody.  Whilst it is being carried it is vulnerable to being found by Police, and the ‘carrier’ arrested, but NOT if the Police Officers have one arm tied behind their backs.

Currently there is no ‘fear’ on the streets.  The government, in the shape of Camoron and Cruella, have savagely decreased the number of Police Officers, including the Front Line that they claim to protect.  Cruella herself issued an instruction to Police to drastically reduce the number of Stop Search carried out.  Since her edict both crime in general, and stabbings in particular have increased, despite what the Whitehall Mandarins might tell us.  Home Office figures show it thus

Assaults in England and Wales

Not a pretty sight.

My proposal to turn the tide would be to bring back Stop and Search.  Lawfully, Ethically, Respectfully, but Determindly.

Once the grounds for the Stop/Search have been established (and they MUST be) it should be conducted positively and efficiently, and properly recorded.

“People will get Stop/Searched who are totally innocent” I hear the cry.  Yes they will, that is almost inevitable, but the damage can be minimised by the manner in which it is conducted.  Officers could stop me ten times a day if it prevented one more youth getting butchered.  I have nothing to hide, nor do most other folk.   Yes, it is inconvenient, and can often delay us, but which is worse?  Getting a tad miffed about being stopped and searched by a polite Police Officer who explains why you are being Stopped and Searched, or one more teenager getting disembowled within sight of home?

Last year’s IPSOS/MORI poll showed that ost of the population still have a reasonable amount of trust in the Police.  FAR, far more than politicians of any kind.

In view of which Theresa May, why not start the process of rebuilding the Police?  Allow people to feel safe on the streets once more.  Instil fear of being caught and meaningful consequences into the hearts of those carrying knives, or weapons of any kind.

How can you help?  How does your country need you?

You can help today by simply writing a letter or email to your local MP, or the Home Secretary, or the Prime Minister or your local Police and Crime Commissioner voicing your support for some Positive Action and the reinstatement of the Police Force.  Surely no politician can ignore a mailbox overflowing with letters.  Police and Crime Commissoners are up for re-election soon, and who knows when the next General Election will be, but maybe not too far away.  They will all be looking for YOUR votes.

From an operational point of view a short, sharp period of Shock and Awe will remind a certain faction that they do not rule the streets, although they currently think that they do, and they are getting away with it.

Stop and Search – Bored With It Now

The arguments re Stop and Search continue to rumble on, stoked by the opinions of a few ‘Adademics’ most recently.

People continue to be stabbed and killed on the streets of our country, some VERY young children among them, but oh no we mustn’t conduct Stop and Search on these poor young things, it’s not right.  If they are old enough to carry weapons and get involved in knife fights, stabbings, robberies etc etc then they are old enough to be stopped and searched.

According to Theresa May when she was Home Secretary we should be drastically cutting back on Stop/Search Full Stop, or she will bring in legislation to make us stop doing was the threat 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,”

She failed in her determination to introduce the relevant legislation due to, mainly, pressure from David Camoron. However she did succeed in obtaining a voluntary agreement;

Forces participating in the scheme must:

  • Record the outcome of stops in more detail to show the link – or lack of a link – between the object of the search and its outcome, allowing an assessment of how well forces interpret the “reasonable grounds for suspicion” they are supposed to have. They must also record a broader range of outcomes, such as penalty notices and cautions, so it can be understood how successful each stop and search is.
  • Allow members of the public to apply to accompany officers on patrol to help improve the community’s understanding of the police.
  • Introduce a stop and search complaints “community trigger” so forces must explain to the public how powers are used if they receive a large volume of complaints.
  • The Home Secretary said forces must make clear that they will respect law established in the recent Roberts case by only using the Section 60 “no suspicion” stop and search power when it is “necessary to prevent incidents involving serious violence” rather than just “expedient” to do so. For those participating in the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, use of Section 60 must also be authorised by a chief officer who must reasonably believe that violence “will” take place rather than “may” take place, as it stands now. Forces must also limit its application to 15 hours and communicate with communities before and after, so residents can be kept informed of the purpose and success of the operation.

Back in the real world, crime in general and violent crime in particular, has rocketed since Theresa May’s interference in 2014.

For the ‘Academics’ amongst you the problems look like this

Stop/Search vs Crime England and Wales

Stop and Search in England and Wales

In the last 24 hours there has been much use of the word ‘Toxic‘ on Social Media, much of it aimed at former Police Officers who oppose the policies being introduced, unchecked it would appear, by the College of Policing, National Police Chiefs Council and Home Office.

Well, let me tell you, I think the attitude of some very senior Police Officers, aided and abetted by ‘Academics’ is ‘Toxic’.  The figures speak for themselves. In my very humble opinion, and what do I know about it, we should not be having any discussion about reducing Stop and Search at all.  We should, however, be having a very serious discussion about ensuring that our Police Officers are properly trained (not by e-learning) on HOW to lawfully conduct a Stop/Search procedure, what is required, grounds, properly recording the procedure and its outcome etc.

We can not justify cutting back on Stop and Search in the light of rising crime, weapons, killings etc on the streets of our country. EVERY ONE of those weapons is carried through the streets at some point by a real living person.  The responsibility of the Police is to intercept those weapons and prevent the ensuing crimes.

How can they do that whilst being told to cut back on the use of Stop/Search?  Senior Police Officers and ‘Academics’ are not doing anybody any favours highlighting the number of Stop/Searches carried out, they should merely concentrate on the quality of those Stop/Searches and ensure absolutely that they are carried out within the law.

Any criticism of properly conducted Stop/Searches is TOXIC nothing less.  Fnally, how many stabbings, robberies etc have been prevented by ‘Academics’?  Is there a database somewhere for those important figures?