Stop and search powers must be given back to police to help tackle the “frightening” rise in knife related crime, Philip Davies MP has warned.
As Prime Minister Theresa May prepares to host a major knife crime summit in Downing Street on Monday (APR1), Shipley MP Philip Davies said the move could help prevent more unnecessary deaths.
He said: “People are dying on our streets at a frightening rate, yet I don’t believe politicians have helped the police by overseeing a huge decrease in the number of stop and searches carried out for knives, other weapons and drugs in recent years. It is hampering their efforts to prevent serious crimes.
“One of the reasons for curtailing the use of stop and search was because of accusations of racism. As far as I am concerned, background is irrelevant. What is relevant is how many of those stopped and searched are guilty of crimes.”
According to the Home Office stop and search numbers have fallen by 75 per cent since 2010. In England and Wales in 2017/18 there were 277,378 stop and searches recorded the equivalent of five per 1,000 people – down from 23 per 1,000 people in 2009/10.
The reduction has largely been blamed on reforms introduced by Mrs May when she was Home Secretary which said stop and search had to be used in a more focused way amid concerns it young black men were being disproportionately targeted.
Mr Davies added: “The evidence on this subject does not support the politically correct assumption that stop and search is discriminatory.
“I want to see police allowed to stop and search anyone they think may be carrying a knife or weapon. It has nothing to do with race or gender, it is about saving lives and stopping this frightening rise in knife related deaths.”
While searches fall fatal stabbings have increased with latest figures showing 285 deaths in 2017/18.
On Monday Mrs May will host the summit with ministers, community leaders, agencies and experts to explore how to tackle the scourge in knife crime.
Mr Davies added: “Anything we can do to stop knife crime and people dying must be done. Reintroducing more stop and search and letting police do their job without interference from politicians is one way and it must happen. People need to feel safe in their communities and want us to do everything we can to stop the frightening rise of deaths on our streets.”