Stop and Search good intentions redundant without officers to enforce them

09 September 2018

Simon Kempton

PFEW Operational lead Simon Kempton

‘The priority should be more officers rather than increased powers’ that’s the response of the Police Federation of England and Wales to the Home Secretary’s announcement today around proposed extension of stop and search legislation.

The Home Secretary Sajid Javid wants officers to be able to stop anyone suspected of carrying a corrosive substance without a good reason. He also wants to give police powers to search people suspected of using laser pointers to disrupt aircraft and to tackle criminals using drones to fly drugs into prisons.

Mr Javid announced a public consultation on extending the power of “reasonable grounds” in stop-and-search cases. Any changes will need to be put before parliament.

Simon Kempton, Operation Policing lead for the PFEW said: “I commend the aim behind this proposal and I am grateful for the support that the Home Secretary has shown to officers, however the reality is that he can suggest all the powers he likes but they will be of little use if there aren’t the officers to exercise them.

Stop and search is a vital policing tool which enables officers to target and disrupt crime. And it should be the case that all criminals should expect to be stopped by police instead of being able to act as if they have impunity when they leave their house to commit crime. But it is a tactic which must be used legitimately in order to maintain the trust of our communities, but be in no doubt it must be used.

“We know that most people in society overwhelmingly support the police and this can only continue to improve with the introduction of Body Worn Video.

“But the simple fact is that the policing in this country has – as a result of austerity – been stripped back to the stage where we are often only able to provide a reactive service. Frontline officers spend their time rushing from call to call to call. The opportunity to engage in proactive policing – of which stop and search is an integral part - has all but disappeared in some areas.

“And while it is heartening to see the Home Secretary stating that he wishes to be ‘strong on crime’ with announcements such as these, what we really need from him is a properly funded and resourced police service which can then support his aim of addressing the fundamental problems facing society,” concluded Mr Kempton.