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Amber Rudd backs stop and search as 'vital tool' to combat knife and acid attacks

Amber Rudd backs stop and search as 'vital tool' to combat knife and acid attacks

John Ashmore

2 min read

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has given her strong backing to stop and search, saying that it is a "vital" part of the fight against violent crimes including knife and acid attacks.

The use of stop-and-search has fallen dramatically since an intervention by Theresa May when she was Home Secretary - with numbers falling from around 1m a year to below 400,000.

Ms Rudd said the reforms introduced by her predecessor were aimed at making the procedure better targeted, pointing out that previously "fewer than one in ten [stops] ended in an arrest".

And the minister insisted a targeted approach, rather than an increase in numbers, was the best way to proceed. 

Writing in the Times, she acknowledged that recently there have been "signs of a genuine rise in gun and knife crime" causing concern in some areas of the country, as well as a spate of horrifying acid attacks.

"The increase has caused some people to question whether police need to return to a time when stop and search powers were used much more widely, in a less targeted and more indiscriminate way. That would be a backward step...

"I want to be crystal clear — we have given thepolice the powers they need and officers who use stop and search appropriately, with reasonable grounds and in a targeted and intelligence-led way, will always have my full support. 

"This includes using stop and search to confront the use of acid as an appalling weapon of violence. The power is a vital tool to keep the public safe and officers who use it correctly should have the full support of the public and commanding officers."


The head of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, also strongly backed officers in London using stop-and-search to combat rising knife crime.

The Commissioner told BBC Asian Network: “We have probably had a 20% increase in the last year and that is not acceptable to me, so I am encouraging my officers to do stop and search as one of many things that will help to bring this number down.

"I am very much in favour of stop and search. And I’ve said that to my officers and I want them to feel confident to use it. Now we have body-worn video that helps as well in terms of accountability."

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