Met commissioner warns against ‘bad execution’ of stop-and-search tactic
Critics of stop-and-search argue that it unfairly targets ethnic minorities, particularly black men.
Suella Braverman got into a war of words with Met chief Sir Mark Rowley (Photo: Getty Images)
THE Metropolitan Police commissioner has said that badly executed stop-and-search tactic can burn trust in the force.
Sir Mark Rowley told the News Agents podcast that stop-and-search is in the police ‘armoury’ but can burn through trust.
Recently, home secretary Suella Braverman urged police leaders to ‘ramp up’ stop-and-search to prevent knife attacks and save lives. She also called for an end to the dangerous weapon-carrying culture.
While responding to this, Sir Mark said, “It’s not an order. I don’t think she would see it as an order. But I definitely don’t take it as one.
“We are going to use the right tactics to tackle violence on the streets of London. Stop and search is a key tactic in that, so it is part of our armoury… If it’s done badly, it burns through trust.”
The commissioner added, “So, whether a politician is philosophically enthusiastic or not about it is sort of interesting to the side… but surely the communities of London should expect us to be doing the right amount of stop and search in the right places that has the best effect on crime and keeping them safe and building their trust.
“That must be the most important driving factor, that professional evidence.”
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.
Comparing Braverman’s comments to mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s views, Sir Mark said: “So, she’s got a view about policing tactics, the mayor [of London] has got views about policing tactics, they both express them. I listened to them.”
Braverman also stressed prompt release of bodycam footage to counter 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 home secretary said.
“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.”
Critics of stop-and-search argue that it disproportionately singles out individuals from ethnic minorities. They claim that the practice unequally focuses on ethnic minority groups, especially black men, and can result in a sense of victimisation among affected individuals.