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The home secretary nonetheless introduced a raft of knife crime prevention orders in February, requiring low standards of proof to secure up to two years’ detention.
Recent headlines include “Beat gang violence with more stop and search,” “Police MUST use more stop and search to stop gangs” and “Stop and search should be used in schools.”Last August, the right-wing Centre for Social Justice think tank, co-founded by former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, published a report making the same argument and demanding “a zero tolerance approach.” Former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair lent his weight in an interview, saying he always believed police should have access to stop and search powers and called on May to hold an emergency national security Cobra committee meeting on knife crime and “do whatever it takes.”There is zero evidence that stop and search does anything to reduce violent crime.
A College of Policing study of Metropolitan Police boroughs looking at 10 years of data from 2004-14 found that it had no effect.
They make it easier for officers to search anyone they choose within a certain area under a “section 60” check.
Whereas previously “section 60” stops had to be authorised by a more senior officer, a police inspector can now give approval.
This is used to justify calls for ever more violent and authoritarian methods of policing, already including the more aggressive use of “stop and search” powers, harsher sentencing, a more widespread use of taser stun guns and the introduction of ID cards.
The drumbeat for harsher stop and search measures has been relentless, with the leading the way.These figures have generated immense media coverage and government attention, but there are definite and opposed class interests at work in the “national conversation” on knife crime.Behind these statistics are hundreds of grieving families and friends looking for answers.Conservative Home Secretary Sajid Javid has handed UK police increased stop and search powers on the pretext of fighting the rise in knife crime.The new powers follow a “knife crime summit” held at Downing Street Monday, overseen by Prime Minister Theresa May.The Labour Party has played a crucial role, with Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan backing the use of stop and search.While making some criticisms of racial profiling, Abbott affirmed last November “Our officers need more resources to keep us safe.The asserts, “The knife-crime epidemic in Wild West Britain means we need to talk about ID cards again.”The evidence does not support the apocalyptic claims of the Conservative press.Last year saw the highest number of knife homicides recorded since 1946.But none will be found in the screaming banner headlines of the right-wing press or draconian statements of the government.These forces are seeking to exploit the pain and confusion of the mostly working-class communities affected to push a law and order campaign with terrible implications for those same neighbourhoods.