Stop-and-search to be used ‘properly’ following four knife killings over the New Year
- Credit: Archant
Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick has said that stop-and-search powers will be used “properly” to address knife crime in London.
Britain’s leading police officer spoke after four young males were stabbed to death over the New Year which prompted London mayor Sadiq Khan to promise a “significant increase” in the use of the power.
One of the victims was Taofeek Lamidi who was knifed repeatedly in Memorial Avenue, West Ham, just after 7.30pm on New Year’s Eve – two days before his 21st birthday.
Stop and search has attracted criticism in the past that it disproportionately targets people from ethnic minorities, and Mr Khan’s comments were questioned by his Labour colleague David Lammy.
But Ms Dick, speaking as she attended a police and community search for weapons on a housing estate in Islington, said her officers were professional and well-trained, and searches would be captured on body camera.
She said: “I think the public can be very assured that where there is proper grounds to use the power, the power will be used properly.
“Where we have intelligence, where we know there is a real problem with knife crime, where we know someone is a habitual knife-carrier, I think the vast majority of the public would expect us to be using the law and our powers to its full effect.
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“The last thing I want is for this to damage community relationships but I actually feel that we have the ability now, between the people of London and the Met, to bear down on violent crime through a variety of methods, not least through stop and search, and to do that in a way that actually improves community relationships rather than damaging them.”
Last week Mr Khan wrote in the Evening Standard that 2018 would see “a tougher crackdown” on violent crime.
He wrote: “This will include a significant increase in the use of targeted stop and search by the police across our city.
“I know from personal experience that when done badly, stop and search can cause community tensions. But when based on real intelligence, geographically focused and performed professionally, it is a vital tool for the police to keep our communities safe.”
Tottenham MP Mr Lammy, who led a review of how the legal system treats ethnic minorities, told The Guardian he was “disappointed that the vexed issue of stop and search is again being used as a political football, and I have made my views clear to the mayor of London”.