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Police want to use stop & search without reasonable grounds

CHANGE: Police chiefs want to be able to use stop and search without reasonable grounds

POLICE CHIEFS are appealing for an expansion of stop and search to combat knife crime by lowering the level of suspicion an officer needs to take action.

According to reports, they want to scrap the requirement that ‘reasonable grounds’ are needed before a suspect can be frisked.

The plans were confirmed by Adrian Hanstock, the deputy chief constable of the British Transport Police and national lead on stop and search for the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

The proposals, which apply to England and Wales, would also make it more likely that those caught with a knife would be dealt with through an educational programme rather than ending up before the courts.

Speaking to the Guardian Hanstock said: “There are a lot of calls for officers to do more stop and search. But the current individual threshold that officers have to meet is very tight and precise. So is there any appetite to reduce that threshold where [an] officer has a genuine fear that the person is at risk, or there is a safeguarding threat, or is a risk to others?

“If that officer does not have sufficient grounds or X-ray vision to see they are carrying a weapon, and they are concerned they may have something to cause harm, that should trigger a search.

“They will still have to record what has concerned them.”

Since news of the potential rule change went public, many have taken to social media to share their thoughts on the controversial method.

David Lammy tweeted: "Seriously! Abandoning the 'reasonable grounds' condition would be a draconian step towards a police state. Stop and search is already used disproportionately against minorities. This undermines our civil liberties and encourages more abuse of those powers."

Meanwhile, Diane Abbott added: "The Police's own data shows random stop and search is not proven to cut violent crime. Evidenced based stops can be an important weapon in fighting all types of crime."

The rise in knife crime has sparked debate between the Government and senior police over the link between deep funding cuts and the rise in crime.

Last week the Met Police investigated its 120th murder of the year, more than in 2017.

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