Does stop search reduce knife crime?

22 May 2018

Simon Kempton

Simon Kempton, PFEW Operational Policing Lead

Former gang member and founder of Gangsline Ltd, Sheldon Thomas, spoke of the need for society to change and for communities to take their fair-share of the responsibility to bring about a reduction in violent crime. Sheldon spoke from personal experience of violent crime having been shot at, four times, while in a London nightclub in the late 1970s.

Sheldon was addressing the attendees of the ‘Protecting our Streets – Does stop search reduce knife crime?’ breakout session at our Annual Conference today, held at the ICC in Birmingham.

Other speakers during the session included PFEW’s own Simon Kempton, Operational Policing Lead, and Roger Pegram, Vice Chair of the Society of Evidence Based Policing. All of those speaking agreed that stop and search had a role to play in reducing violent crime and that it was a tactic to be deployed, if required.

While the issues surrounding the rise in violent crime are complex, Mr Thomas drew attention to how both families and the communities in which they live have a fundamental role in changing current attitudes. Mr Thomas advocated the role that community policing has to play in bringing positive change, but acknowledged that a fundamental aspect of this was that those police officers involved in community policing have to understand the communities that they police. He also stated that investment in properly resourcing the police had to be made, if change was to happen.

Mr Thomas said that there were many societal issues that needed to be addressed as well as properly dealing with supporting those with poor mental health. One aspect that Mr Thomas also highlighted as requiring change was the need to tackle the importation of cocaine into the country by crime families - it invariably is the drug of choice for regular white middle class users, but its supply and sale is from inner city street gang members, giving rise to the recently reported issue of county lines.     

Conference continues tomorrow with keynote speeches from the Home Secretary Sajid Javid and national chair Calum Macleod, as well as sessions on pay and conditions, counter-terrorism and detectives in crisis. Find out more and how to watch live on the event page.