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Force's ?champion? idea to increase stop and search

Neighbourhood officers becoming ?increasingly confident? in legal powers
Published - 03/06/2019 By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle

Policing is turning to an exclusive band of stop and search “champions” to target the rising tide of violent crime.

Officers with specialist knowledge and experience of the legal powers are being designated to work across force areas.

In Staffordshire, a total of 13 stop and search leaders will become “approachable points of contact” for personnel in each neighbourhood policing team to help other officers if they need any issues or advice. 

The number of stop and searches performed by officers from Staffordshire Police has risen by more than a fifth in one year. 

Between May 2017 and 2018, the number of stop and searches was 3,779 – compared to 4,629 between May 2018 and 2019. 

More officers are also due to become stop and search champions in the near future. 

Chief Inspector Mark Barlow, force lead for stop and search, said: “Stop and search powers play an important role in the prevention of crime.

“They are an effective policing method to target and tackle crime, enabling us to keep people safe and protect the most vulnerable. 

“A rise of 22 per cent shows that our officers are becomingly increasingly confident in using the power – helping us to bring individuals to justice who cause the most harm in communities. 

“Communities expect us to disrupt crime and stop and search powers enable us to do this on a daily basis.”

Across England and Wales, stop and search was all but abandoned after the riots in 2011. Under Theresa May as Home Secretary, the tactic was discouraged on the basis that it was resulting in a loss of public confidence in the police and unfair targeting of young black men.

Searches fell from more than 1.2 million incidents nationally in the year to March 2011 to fewer than 280,000 in the year to March 2018.

In London, tens of thousands more stop and searches and extra officers on the streets are already driving down the toll of violent deaths.

New figures last month revealed killings in the capital were down by a quarter and injuries from stabbings among the under 25s was down by 15 per cent.

The Met is now seeing "real progress" with an additional 40,000 annual stop and searches proving “very effective” – resulting in the confiscation of knives and guns every day.

Stop and searches in London have risen 30 per cent in the last year to 172,000, which equates to 471 a day.

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