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London, June 19 – In an effort to prevent more knife attacks and “save more lives”, UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman has urged the police to “ramp up” the stop-and-search measure, the media reported.
In England and Wales, police can stop and search an individual or vehicle if they have “reasonable grounds” to suspect the person is carrying a weapon, drugs, stolen property or something that could be used to commit a crime, the BBC reported.
While critics opine the practice disproportionately targets those from ethnic minorities and can leave people feeling victimised, the government says that it is a “common sense policing tactic” and the Met Police has described it as a “hugely important power” for protecting the public.
In a letter sent to all 43 forces in England and Wales, Braverman on Sunday said the “dangerous culture” of carrying weapons “must be brought to a stop”.
She also called on forces to publish bodycam footage quickly to stop police facing “trial by social media”.
“My first priority is to keep the public safe, and people who insist on carrying a weapon must know that there will be consequences. The police have my full support to ramp up the use of stop-and-search, wherever necessary, to prevent violence and save more lives,” the BBC quoted Braverman as saying in the letter.
“Every death from knife crime is a tragedy. That’s why I also back the police in tackling this blight in communities which are disproportionately affected, such as among young black males. We need to do everything in our power to crack down on this violence.”
Meanwhile, the Home Office called on officers to use available powers to arrest people who unlawfully obstruct stop-and-searches.
It said forces should publish footage from body cameras worn by officers quickly to prevent innocent officers from being “subject to trial by social media”.
According to government data, more than 100,000 weapons have been removed from Britain’s streets since 2019 through a range of tactics — almost half of which were seized in stop-and-searches, which have lead to more than 220,000 arrests, the BBC reported.