Sajid Javid challenges Theresa May to push for ‘more stop-and-search powers'
Sajid Javid is calling for police stop-and-search powers to be increased in a bid to tackle those behind acid attacks, it has been reported.
The Times says the Home Secretary will seek to boost officers’ abilities to challenge anyone suspected of carrying the corrosive substances without a good reason.
New proposals could also allow for those thought to be in possession of laser pointers, which can be used to disrupt aircraft, and drones, which can be used to fly drugs into prisons, to be searched.
While ministers have brought forward a new crime of possessing the dangerous substances without good reason, frontline officers are said to lack the powers to search suspects.
Mr Javid’s move marks a departure from Theresa May’s time at the Home Office, when she notably cutback on the stop-and-search policy following figures which showed black youths were disproportionately targeted.
The tactic fell in England and Wales from 1.5 million in 2008-09 to just over 304,000 in 2016-17.
Elsewhere, the number of recorded acid attacks leapt from 228 in 2012 to 601 in 2016.
Mr Javid is said to be preparing a public consultation on boosting stop-and-search powers on “reasonable grounds”, ahead of any bid to change the rules in parliament.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “As outlined in the serious violent crime strategy we are looking at ways to strengthen police powers to identify individuals carrying corrosive substances.”
The spokesperson did not comment on the plans for drones or laser pointers.
Simon Kempton from the Police Federation said: “Mr Javid’s support for this tactic when he was appointed, along with its expansion, is a positive step towards encouraging officers to feel confident to carry out stop and search again, but we need funding for more officers.”