Stop and searches should ‘focus on knives and not drugs’

More guidance should be given to police forces on working with communities in neighbourhoods with a history of violent knife crime such as Harringey, according to a report.

Shaun Bailey, who is a London Assembly member, has written ‘Londoners’ Lives Matter’ in which he calls for a shift in focus in stop and search from drugs to knives.

According to Mr Bailey’s report figures reveal 15 per cent of stop and searches are for blades, while 60 per cent are for drugs.

The report also draws attention to the statistic that young black men are ten times more likely to be stopped and searched for drugs than young white men.

Shaun Bailey is of the opinion that the Mayor’s current Knife Crime Strategy is not working, and he sees the report as a comprehensive approach to tackling knife crime in London.

He said: “Knife crime destroys families, fractures communities and puts a stain on our city.

“Unfortunately, the Mayor’s policies are having no impact and we must seek a new approach.

“Trust among the black community around stop and search is low.

“With the number of people being patted down for petty drugs offences, when the statistics show the black community is far less likely to be using drugs, it is clear why.

“I do believe, though, there is a desire for increased searches if they focus on knives and not drugs.

“This refocus should be the catalyst for a major overhaul of our approach to knife crime.

“My approach pulls in the best elements of schemes like the one in Glasgow, utilises social media intelligence gathering to prevent knife attacks and calls for a major long-term strategy that could help cut stabbings in the capital by a third.

“With 80 people killed last year, this goes way beyond party politics and I am urging the Mayor to work with me to address the shortcomings in the current strategy.”

Mr Bailey’s report also calls for a five-to-10-year prevention strategy for youth violence.